Sunday, May 26, 2024

Kharge writes to President Murmu against ‘privatisation’ of Sainik schools

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday, urging a complete reversal of the Union government’s decision to privatize Sainik Schools through the signing of memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Kharge’s letter cited a report by The Reporters’ Collective that found that the Union government had awarded 40 Sainik School agreements to educational institutes linked with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, other Hindutva organisations and leaders of the BJP or its allies, between 2022 and 2023.

He said, in the past, successive Indian governments kept Armed Forces and its affiliate institutions away from shadows of political ideologies but the Modi government has “broken” this well-enshrined convention.

“Having undermined institutions after institutions, in the grand plan of the RSS to hurriedly thrust its ideology, they have dealt a body blow to the very nature and ethos of the Armed Forces. Imparting ideologically slanted knowledge in such institutions shall not only destroy inclusiveness but also damage the national character of the Sainik Schools, by influencing their character through partisan religious/corporate/family/social/cultural credos,”Kharge said.

“Therefore, in national interest, the Indian National Congress demands the complete rollback of this privatisation policy and annulment of these MoUs, so that children studying at Armed Forces Schools retain desired character, vision and honour required for the service of the nation,” he added.

In 2021, Kharge said, the Union government “brazenly” initiated the “privatisation” of Sainik Schools. “As a result thereto, Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed for 40 out of the 100 new schools,” he said.

Kharge said the investigative report found that “62% have been signed with individuals and organisations belonging to the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar. This includes a Chief Minister’s family, several MLAs, BJP office-bearers, and RSS leaders.”

Calling it a blatant step to politicise the independent Sainik Schools – a preparatory platform which plays a leading role in sending cadets for the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Naval Academy – Kharge pointed out that these schools were established by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961 and served as a beacon of excellence in military leadership.

“It is evident and therefore I ask, if this has been effected to ideologically indoctrinate Armed Forces at the entry level. No political party has ever done this, as there is general national consensus to keep the valour and courage of our Armed Forces away from partisan politics,” he said.

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