THE Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Tuesday passed BJP corporator Samita Kamble’s proposal to make yoga and Surya Namaskar mandatory in civic schools. While the Opposition parties demanded that yoga and Surya Namaskar be made optional, the proposal was passed with ruling Shiv Sena corporators voting for it.
However, none of the Sena corporators spoke in favour or against the proposal during the two-hour discussion.
The decision is likely to affect over 5.4 lakh students who study in nearly 1,230 municipal schools in the city.
Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh demanded that Surya Namaskar be removed from the proposal altogether. “The BJP wants to bring Hindu customs in schools, which is a secular space, and wants to force the students to do things under the pretext of culture. We will take our children out of the school, if necessary, but we won’t let the BJP infiltrate into the minds of young children who should have the freedom to choose their religion and follow its customs,” he said.
Describing the BJP’s proposal as a “fascist move”, Congress corporator Mohsin Haider said, “We have nothing against yoga, but why should Surya Namaskar be made mandatory when it can hurt religious sentiments.”
MNS’s Sandeep Deshpande said all corporators should practise what they propose.
The BJP, however, argued that the proposal had no religious connotations and that yoga exercises were done by people across the world. “Surya Namaskar is not a part of religion but just a type of physical exercise,” said BJP’s Dilip Patel.