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In Haryana, bureaucrats’ yoga date with Ramdev sparks row

Queries sent to both Chief Secretary Dhesi and ACS (AYUSH) PK Mahapatra went unanswered.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
June 14, 2016 3:30:08 am
yoga day, yoda day celebrations, yoga day preparatiom, haryana, haryana news, indisa news Students prepare for International Yoga Day, at a school in Ahmedabad on Monday. (Express Photo by Javed Raja)

Haryana Chief Secretary’s directive asking top bureaucrats to turn up at a yoga event early Tuesday morning has been questioned by many senior officers, who said the move would reduce them to “RSS stooges”.

The two-hour training session with state brand ambassador and yoga guru Ramdev is being held in the run-up to International Yoga Day celebrations in Chandigarh on June 21, which is scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The letter sent to 21 additional chief secretaries and 15 principal secretaries was issued on Monday from the office of Director, AYUSH, Haryana on behalf of Chief Secretary Deepinder Singh Dhesi.

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“Worthy Chief Secretary has directed that all the Additional Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries, Government of Haryana are expected to join yoga training camp conducted by Brand Ambassador Yogrishi Baba Ram Dev ji on 14.06.2016 (5 am to 7 am) at Parade Ground, Sector 5, Panchkula. Hon’ble Chief Minister, Haryana shall be the Chief Guest on this occasion”, the communication issued on Monday by Director, AYUSH, Haryana read.

One of the senior officers, on condition of anonymity, said, “We have been reduced to RSS stooges. It is against our dignity to even acknowledge such letters.”

“What does such a direction mean? Are we to stand in a queue and wait for the yoga training camp to begin at five in the morning?” he asked.

Another senior officer called the directive “absurd” and wondered how the government could force them to attend yoga training classes. “We are serving the government of India and are not here to forward the agenda of any particular political party,” he said.

Another senior officer only laughed at the contents of the letter and quipped, “I don’t get up that early in the morning.”

However, there were different viewpoints as well. A senior officer saw no issues with attending such a camp. “Since I am already regularly practicing yoga, I will be there at the venue,” he said.

Another bureaucrat, not willing to be named, said, “If these are the directions from the top, it is difficult to avoid. But, frankly, most of the people go because these are directions. If such a thing is on a working day, it disrupts the daily office work. Had it been on an off day, it would have been better.”

Queries sent to both Chief Secretary Dhesi and ACS (AYUSH) PK Mahapatra went unanswered.

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