India says national flags must fly at universities

Indian schoolchildren salute the national flag during an event to celebrate the country's Republic Day in Mumbai on January 26, 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Authorities believe that putting up a flag will "evoke nationalistic sentiments" in the students

India has made it mandatory for central universities across the country to fly the national flag on their campuses.

The first flag will come up in Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which has been rocked by protests since last week, reports said.

Students there are angry over the arrest of their union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges.

Putting up the 207-foot (63m) flag would "evoke nationalistic sentiments" in the students, authorities believe.

Mr Kumar was arrested after a rally last week against the 2013 hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru at which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.

Afzal Guru was convicted over a 2001 plot to attack India's parliament - charges he always denied.

The attack was carried out by Kashmiri militants and left 14 people dead.

The decision to fly the flag was taken at a meeting of Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani and vice-chancellors of central universities on Thursday, reports said.

A spokesman announced that the flag would be put up "proudly and prominently" at a central place in the university.

"The flag will symbolise the unity and integrity of the nation, under which higher education would flourish," the Hindustan Times quoted a source as saying in a report.

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