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THOUSANDS DESCENDED on Capitol Complex in Sector 1 on Sunday to participate in a ‘full dress rehearsal’ of International Yoga Day.
According to officials figures, around 30,000 participants included armed forces officers, school and college students, government officials, several yoga foundations and yoga enthusiasts performed asanas as per the prescribed common yoga protocol ahead of the main event to be held on June 21.
Participants from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, who were divided into groups of 50, started to arrive at the venue around 4:30 am. The rehearsal started at 7:20 am with chants of ‘Om’, followed by prayers and it concluded with a prayer and chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
DC Joshi loses cool
The rehearsal was scheduled to start at 7am but began 20 minutes late as the movement of participants was slow and they took their own time in settling down. Overwhelmed with the ambience, a large number of participants started clicking selfies on entering the venue. After the participants did not pay heed to repeated requests from the ground staff to settle down, UT deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi lost his cool and rushed to the main stage and took the microphone.
Joshi, a soft-spoken officer, lashed out at those standing and not following the instructions, by saying: “Don’t behave like illiterates. Everyone was informed on Saturday about their respective block and sub block. I don’t know why people are not going to their respective block.”
Joshi, nodal officer of the event, looked tense and directed the participants to stop taking selfies and to go to their respective blocks. He also expressed his displeasure over people walking over mats and asked them to walk only on the earmarked red colour space.
The DC pulled up chief engineer Mukesh Anand for not placing mats at the area earmarked for special children.
Majority of the participants, who were visiting Capitol Complex for the first time, found it difficult to locate their respective blocks. Participants continued to enter the venue even after the rehearsal began.
To address issues faced during the rehearsal, DC asked all the coordinators to stay back after the event.
Dress code ‘flouted’
The participants were asked to wear blue/black lower with white t-shirt. However, the majority of them did not follow the dress code and turned up wearing multi-colour outfits. At the end of the rehearsal, participants were requested to adhere to the dress code on June 21. Each participant will be provided white t-shirt and bag by the Chandigarh administration.
Live feed delayed
Although a total of 40 LEDs were installed at different locations on the venue for the participants to see the asanas being performed on stage by experts, but the live feed started at the fag end of the rehearsal. Many people found it difficult to follow instructions given by experts on the stage. They also complained about poor sound systems.
Special children take part
Around 20 special children participated in the rehearsal. Displaying great zeal, most of them performed many asanas with little assistance from their group coordinators. However, these children faced difficulty in entering the venue and two of them got separated from their group and were traced with the help of police.
The ministry of Ayush has framed common yoga protocol, which include 30 simple yoga asanas, for International Day of Yoga. During the dress rehearsal, Vajrasana asana (Thunderbolt pose) was missed.
Students stage protest
A group of nearly 200 students from Kurali and adjoining area staged a protest after they were not provided refreshment after the rehearsal. Each participant was provided with a refreshment packet containing fruit and juice. The packets were handed over to each bus driver. The students, who had come on three buses, said that packets were not handed over to their drivers. However, cops deployed on duty in parking area said the bus drivers were not present in buses when a team had come to distribute refreshment. The students were later provided refreshments.
150 from Patiala denied entry
A total of 150 participants belonging to a sports institute were left disappointed after they were not allowed to enter the venue for dress rehearsal as their names were not registered.
Tight security arrangements were made with around 4,000 personnel, including traffic police personnel, and paramilitary forces providing cover for the event. The traffic cops managed the traffic efficiently.
Administrator lauds efforts
Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki, who was present on the occasion, was impressed with the participants and arrangements made by Chandigarh administration.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, secretary, ministry of Ayush, Ajit M Sharan, UT adviser Parimal Rai, UT home secretary Anurag Aggarwal and finance secretary Sarabjit Singh were present during the rehearsal.