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The Uttar Pradesh government has directed all madrassas (Islamic schools) to hold celebrations on Independence Day and videograph the event, according to minority welfare minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary. The event to be held on August 15 should include hoisting the tri-colour, singing the national anthem and paying tributes to freedom fighters. The Minister said it will inspire students and they will learn more about the contribution of the freedom fighters. He said the children can treasure the memories of the Independence Day celebrations through the photographs and videos which will also act as a source of inspiration for others. "Unlike the previous governments, which indulged in politics of appeasement, we are a government with nationalist bent of mind," he told PTI today. The BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state in March. "Every citizen born in India celebrates different festivals ranging from Holi, Diwali, Eid and Lohri. But when it comes to national festivals, they are celebrated by the entire nation. "And, the madrassas should not exclude themselves from participating in the national festivals," Chaudhary said. At present, around 8,000 madrasas in UP are recognised by the government body UP Madrassa Shiksha Parishad. Among these, 560 are fully aided by the state. The minister said celebrations in madrassas on Independence Day will be videographed and photographed so that good programmes can be encouraged and repeated in future. "Today is an era of technology. The videos made during the Independence Day can be shared among the students. They can treasure the memories of the Independence Day celebrations.
Apart from this, it will act as a source of inspiration for others," he said. Asked as to what prompted the government to issue the above directives to the madrassas, Chaudhary said, "Directives were issued as the government recognised that madrassas get funds from the state government and are supposed to celebrate the national festivals including Independence Day." "Through different cultural programmes, the students will be made aware of the rich history of the freedom struggle and the heroic deeds of our revolutionaries and martyrs. They will definitely draw inspiration from their heroic tales." Taking a swipe at political rivals, he said, "Those who are trying to impute motives and suspecting the intention of the government, I doubt their nationalist credentials." According to the circular, on Independence Day, flag hoisting and recitation of the National Anthem will take place at 8 am. Following this, tributes will be paid to the martyrs of the freedom struggle. Students will sing songs on nationalism and will be told about the history of August 15 and the freedom fighters. Besides, cultural programmes will be organised on the theme of national unity, along with sports activities. Sweets will be distributed at the end of the session. The circular asks minority welfare officers to direct all madrassas to ensure that Independence Day is celebrated with zeal and that all the programmes mentioned above are organised. Welcoming the move, BJP leader Romana Siddiqui said, "August 15 is our Independence Day. Every institute in the country celebrates the day with full patriotic fervour, then why should the madarssas lag behind. "If convents and missionary schools celebrate Independence Day by holding a number of events, then why not the madarssas.