Teachers, panchs, officials all told to hoist flag, sing national anthem
SRINAGAR: For the first time ever, the government has decided to commemorate August 15, India’s Independence Day, on a massive scale in Kashmir – from schools to municipalities to panchayat offices – this year. All schools have been asked to celebrate the day by unfurling the tricolour and singing the national anthem amid the presence of students. Newly elected Panchs and Sarpanchs have been told to do the same.
This directive has come at a time when the government has forbidden congregations of people as part of Covid-19 containment measures.
The government order, issued after a meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, has also asked all the educational institutions in Kashmir to upload videos and photos of the event, with instructions that the school management should organise cleanliness drives, plantation drives, community classes and gatherings in the days leading up to August 15. School teachers have been asked to prepare students to memorise and sing the national anthem.
A teacher told Kashmir Reader, on the condition of anonymity, that teachers have been asked to report for duties on Independence Day. The teacher, who is a physical education trainer at a government school, said that it was for the first time that he has been asked to attend the function.
“This is strange for the teacher fraternity, but what can be done,” he said.
Administrative officials have been directed to unfurl the Indian flag at the district, sub-district, and tehsil level, and panchayat representatives have been told to do so at the panchayat level.
Mohammad Shafiq Mir, chairman of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference, a body of elected Panchayat leaders, told Kashmir Reader that the flag would be unfurled at 2,182 panchayat offices in Kashmir, in which the same activities would take place as at other official places. He will himself do it at Bafliaz in Poonch at the district headquarters, he said.
Until now, Independence Day was celebrated in a few fortified select places, where the Deputy Commissioner was the lowest officer in the hierarchy of administrative machinery to unfurl the flag. This year would be for the first time that various departments, at various locations, will have to raise the tricolour. Even Panchs would have to do so.
Conspicuous preparations for the day have begun in Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, and are visible around the Dal Lake, on the Budshah Bridge, at the famous clock tower in Lal Chowk. Lights have been installed in the pattern of the tricolour on the clock tower.