West Bengal Government wants all Independence day celebrations in schools to be stopped

Last week BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh government made it mandatory for Madrasa students to sing the national song “Vande Mataram” on I-day and they even requested the Madrasas to send video-graphic proof of the celebrations. As per the circular issued by U.P. government, they are expected to hoist national flag, recite the National Anthem and pay their tribute to our freedom fighters and martyrs. Furthermore, the Madrassas are expected to highlight the importance of Independence Day, by narrating stories and be told about the history of August 15.

In what seems to be a direct confrontation to directions from the U P Government, the West Bengal government has decided to suspend all such school programmes on Independence Day. This probably looks like an another step towards Muslim appeasement in the state of West Bengal, which is already simmering with enough communal tensions.

Issuing an “urgent” directive to all District Project Officers in-charge of the Sarva Shikha Mission in the state, the Bengal government has asked schools to “stop all preparations for celebrating Independence Day 2017” in accordance with the specifications mentioned by the union Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD). The MHRD school education department had earlier issued a circular on July 25 to education secretaries of all states had specified “additional activities” to be undertaken by schools under the Sarva Shiksha Mission to celebrate Independence Day in a “befitting manner”

According to the circular, schools were requested to organize nine prescribed activities between August 8 and 15th with an objective to “create festive and patriotic mood across the nation”. These include quiz and debate competitions on the theme of India’s freedom struggle, patriotic slogan writing competitions, organizing Prabhat Pheris and marches, film screenings showcasing India’s progress and taking unity and Swachhta pledges.

Barely 72 hours before 15th August, the West Bengal Government has taken a sudden U-turn ordering that Independence Day 2017 “will not be celebrated” in the manner specified by the Modi government. Is this another gimmick by the Mamata Banerjee led Government in West Bengal to appease Islamic fundamentalists in the state?

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