The West Bengal government has asked schools and other educational institutes in the state to celebrate Independence Day the way they always have, instead of preparing for the occasion as per the directions of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, India Today reported on Sunday.

“The feeling of patriotism cannot be forced on someone,” said West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, according to The Times of India. “It is a sentiment that is already there in all Indians. Schools in Bengal celebrate Independence Day every year by hoisting flags and holding various programmes. This year, too, they shall follow the usual practice.”

On July 25, the HRD Ministry issued a circular asking schools and other institutes to organise nine participatory activities in the run up to the Independence Day from August 8 to August 15. The ministry had said that India’s 70 years of independence must be celebrated in a “befitting manner”.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government issued its circular on Friday.

The Centre asked schools to conduct quiz and debate competitions on the theme of India’s freedom struggle and patriotic slogan writing competitions, organise Prabhat Pheris and marches and film screenings showcasing India’s progress, and take pledges on unity and swachhta (cleanliness).

The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh government on Friday had ordered madrasas across the state to click photographs and record videos of Independence Day celebrations this year. “The letter has been issued with the right intention of helping madrasas organise the event in accordance with a uniform schedule,” Madrasa Shiksha Parishad Registrar Rahul Gupta, who had issued the order on August 3, had said.