In an attempt to evoke students' patriotic spirit, the BJP-led government has made it mandatory for each central university in the country to fly an Indian flag on a 207-feet high mast.
The decision was unanimously supported at a meeting called by Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani on 18 February in which vice-chancellors of 46 central universities participated. According to reports, the government claimed that the proposal came from the vice-chancellors.
“All central universities to fly national flag on a 207-feet high mast on their campuses to signify ‘strong and united’ India,” the HRD Ministry said in a statement.
Sources in an NDTV report also claimed that the HRD minister asked why there shouldn’t be a flag decorating campuses, similar to the giant flag situated at the the heart of Connaught Place in the national capital.
“To encourage love for your country, you should hoist the national flag,” said Hairsh Chandra Singh Rathore, the vice chancellor of South Bihar university.
The first flag will be hoisted at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, which is currently simmering with following the arrest of a its students' union president, Kanhaiya Kumar for alleged anti-India sloganeering in favour of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
The matter escalated after Kumar, several journalists and students were assaulted by lawyers within the premises of the Patiala House Court as Kumar was produced. A BJP MLA, O.P. Sharma, was caught on camera attacking a CPI member outside the court premises, adding fuel to the fire.
The meeting was called to address equity on campuses, following a national uproar over alleged bigotry on campus was triggered by the suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad last month. According to reports, support systems for socially and economically disadvantaged students were also discussed, as well as professional counselling to address stress and depression amidst students.
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