While the BJP has been trying to explain that yoga should not be linked to religion, its minority wing in Uttar Pradesh has refused to participate in yoga camps on June 21- the International Yoga Day- citing the holy month of Ramzan that begins from June 19.
While state president of UP BJP Minority Morcha, Rumana Siddiqui, has directed all districts units to take part in yoga camps on June 21, the participation is likely to be negligible as these units have expressed inability citing Ramzan when their members will be observing fast.
Rumana will attend the camp being held at KD Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow but only to mark her attendance as Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be present there. She will not practice yoga because of Ramzan.
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“District presidents and workers are saying that practicing yoga in the current weather will lead to sweating and increase their thirst. It may disturb their fast,” said Rumana, who has rejected the party’s invitation to take part in the yoga camp in Delhi. She added that she will neither force anyone to practice yoga nor will she stop anyone from practicing it.
Kanpur president of BJP’s minority wing, Raees Ahmed, too said workers in his unit have refused to participate in the camps, citing Ramzan.
“This is a practical problem because the duration of Roza in the current season will be for nearly 16 hours. Normally, we have Sehri early morning, then we offer namaaz and then recite holy Quran. After that we prefer to take rest and avoid movement in the sun and heavy work, which can increase out thirst and hunger,” he added.
Raees, who said he was not forcing the workers to take part in the camp, himself will not take part in the camp to be held in Kanpur. “If Yoga Day was held in the winters, I am sure a large number of Muslims would have taken part,” he added.
When contacted, BJP minority wing national president Abdul Rasheed Ansari said he is yet to receive information that workers have refused to take part in yoga camps. But he apprehends that enthusiasm among Muslim workers for the event could be less because of Ramzan.
“It should be taken in a natural way. Because of the hot weather, people avoid exposure to sun. But it does not mean that Muslims are avoiding yoga. Muslims have understood the spirit of yoga and they know that its practice is good for health,” said Ansari, adding that he will take part in the yoga camp to be held in Delhi’s Rajpath.