THE OPPOSITION against making Surya Namaskar compulsory in BMC-run schools has intensified with Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) joining the protests.
At least a week after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) passed a proposal to make Surya Namaskar mandatory in schools, the minority department of the MRCC said the move “will damage the social fabric”.
Chairman of MRCC’s minority department Nizamuddin Rayeen raised the issue with BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao.
Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh, too, met the governor and appealed for his intervention to overturn the BMC decision.
“The BMC’s decision is in violation of Article 28(1) of the Constitution of India which says ‘no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained by state funds’,” said Shaikh.
“We are not against Surya Namaskar but we are opposing the move to make it compulsory in educational institutions,” he said, adding, the decision had caused unease among minority communities.
Rayeen alleged that the move was a political stunt backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the upcoming civic elections.
“At a time when the BMC schools are marred by poor infrastructure and high dropout rates, the focus should be on improving the education services in the schools,” said Rayeen.
The issue was also discussed at the education committee meeting on Monday where opposition members said the compulsion to conduct Surya Namaskar in minority schools could discourage parents from sending their children to schools.
“Any student willing to perform Surya Namaskar can do so but it is unfair to force it on all students,” said Noorjahan Sheikh, corporator from M East Ward and a member of the committee.
Rayeen said Mehta had assured him of a fair decision. Mehta, however, was unavailable for a comment.