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Centre On Congress Allegation On Sainik Schools

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Centre On Congress Allegation On Sainik Schools

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'Unwarranted, Misleading': Centre On Congress Allegation On Sainik Schools

The Ministry of Defence has denied the allegation in a press note a few days ago. (File)

New Delhi:

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has written to President of India Droupadi Murmu, demanding a rollback of the Centre’s move to “privatise” Sainik schools, calling it a “blatant attempt to politicise them”. An “investigative report based on an RTI reply” has revealed that 62 per cent of the privatised Sainik schools belong to leaders of the BJP and the party’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he wrote. The Ministry of Defence has denied the allegation, saying in a press note issued a few days ago that the system involves a strict selection process.

“The political or ideological affiliation or otherwise of the applicant institution does not influence the selection process. Attempts to politicize or distort the objectives and implementation of the scheme by casting aspersions on it, are unwarranted and misleading,” the ministry said.

In his two-page letter, Mr Kharge said, “Indian Democracy has conventionally kept our Armed Forces away from any partisan politics. In the past successive Indian governments kept Armed Forces and its affiliate institutions away from shadows of varying political ideologies”.

“It is not surprising that the union government has broken this well enshrined convention… 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,” Mr Kharge wrote.

Under the new Public-Private Partnership Agreement system that started in 2021, 40 MoUs were signed, Mr Kharge wrote.

“Out of the 40 MoUs that have been signed, 62% have been signed with individuals & organizations belonging to the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar. This includes a Chief Minister’s family, several MLAs, BJP office-bearers and RSS leaders,” the letter read.

“Therefore, in National Interest, the Indian National Congress demands the complete rollback of this privatisation policy and annulment of these MoUs,” he added.

In its note, the ministry said the government has initiated the scheme of setting up 100 schools across the country “in partnership with NGOs/State Govt/Private Sector who are working in the education sector”.

There is a rigorous selection process and approval has been for only 45 schools after scanning over 500 applications. Approval to these schools is given provisionally and they will be monitored periodically, the government said.

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