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Sainik Schools’ Ties with BJP, RSS Trigger Debate on Armed Forces Recruitment

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The recent allocation of new Sainik Schools in India, particularly under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, has stirred concerns due to the involvement of organizations and individuals associated with the Sangh Parivar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its allies.

One notable instance is the affiliation of Samvid Gurukulam Girls Sainik School in Vrindavan, operated by Sadhvi Ritambhara, a prominent Hindu nationalist figure with ties to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Durga Vahini. This affiliation, along with others linked to RSS, BJP, and Hindutva groups, has raised concerns about ideological influences in military education.

The decision to allow private players to manage Sainik Schools, initiated by the Union government in 2021, signifies a shift in the education landscape. However, data indicates that a substantial portion of affiliations has been awarded to institutions associated with right-wing entities.

While the government’s intent behind the PPP model is to bolster the recruitment pool for the armed forces, the involvement of politically affiliated entities has sparked apprehensions. Financial support provided to affiliated schools, including fee subsidies and training grants, aims to enhance military-oriented education but raises concerns about potential biases.

Experts express concerns about ideological influences on the curriculum and values taught in these schools, which could shape the outlook of future armed forces personnel. The analysis of Memorandums of Agreement (MoAs) signed reveals a pattern where many affiliated schools have direct or indirect ties to political and right-wing entities across various states.

Examples include schools owned or managed by BJP politicians, trusts chaired by them, and educational arms of RSS like Vidya Bharati, known for its commitment to Hindutva and patriotism. Critics warn against politicizing the armed forces and compromising their professional ethos through ideological indoctrination in military education.

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