Opposition parties are unhappy with the Sena-BJP ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s proposal to make yoga and Surya Namskar compulsory for students studying in civic schools. Samajwadi party and AIMIM alleged that Sena-BJP is attempting to saffronise education at both central and state government through such initiatives. On the other hand, MNS criticised the corporation and said that it is indulging in vote-bank politics. Thus students will have to practice Surya Namaskar while reciting daily prayers at schools. BMC’s general body cleared this proposal tabled by BJP corporator Samita Kamble with an aim to improve overall health of students by incorporating the ancient exercise regime into their daily routine.
The ruling allies also rejected the opposition parties’ proposal to make surya namaskar optional. SP demanded deleting surya namaskar from the proposal. Already the condition of civic schools is in dire straits and urgently need repairs. Some schools are facing shortage of experienced faculty. Even students don’t have books and raincoats. Instead of providing basic amenities to students the government is bothered about making surya namaskar compulsory.
AIMIM, MLA Waris Pathan said, “AIMIM is opposing the proposal of the BMC to introduce yoga and Surya Namaskar. It is against the Article 25 of the Indian Constitution guaranteeing right to freedom of religion. The state government had made it optional so how can BMC make it compulsory. We will seek legal assistance and the proposal is unconstitutional.”
Samajwadi corporator Rais Shaikh said, “Making Surya Namaskar compulsory in schools is a way to promote Hindutva as the origin of Surya Namaskar lies in Hindu God Surya (Sun). Making it compulsory to students belonging to all religion is akin to dictatorship which is unjustified. Such proposal will only hurt the religious sentiments of the people.”
He claimed that if BMC makes this compulsory, Muslim parents would stop sending their children to schools.
MNS Corporator Sandeep Deshpande said, “The state government is only trying to indulge in polarisation of votes. They are playing politics over this issue but people are not fools and have become smarter today.”
BMC runs 1,188 primary and 49 secondary schools in Mumbai. This includes nearly 400 Urdu-medium schools. About 4.85 lakh students study in primary schools while another 55,000 study in secondary schools.
The proposal passed by the House of the civic body, will now be sent to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta who will take a final call on the issue.
BJP corporator Dilip Patel while defending the proposal said, “Now yoga has been internationally accepted as the best form of exercise.”
Bringing yoga into the religious ambit is a political tactic by opposition parties.”