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Opposition against making Surya Namaskar mandatory in BMC schools continues to mount

Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh said he would write a letter to municipal commissioner mentioning that the proposal is unconstitutional and has created insecurity among people.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 25, 2016 3:00:33 am


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A DAY after the proposal to make Surya Namaskar and Yoga mandatory in BMC-run schools was passed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), opposition continued to mount as other stakeholders raised objections to the move.

Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh stated he would issue a legal notice to the municipal commissioner on Friday. Shaikh stated that the notice would seek a reply within seven days. “The notice will mention that the proposal has created insecurity among people and is a violation of the Constitutional rights of people. If the commissioner fails to reply in seven days, we will move high court,” said Shaikh.

Apart from corporators, objections were also raised by organisations including the Jai Ho Foundation and the Student Islamic Organisation (SIO).

In a letter addressed to the commissioner as well as Mayor Snehal Ambekar, members of Jai Ho Foundation said the proposal with a religious tone violates fundamental rights of students. “We have appealed to the BMC to make Surya Namaskar and Yoga optional since in all this controversy, the poor students will suffer as some parents will stop sending their children to schools. The BMC should instead divert their funds towards improving the quality of Midday meals at civic schools. If the BMC does not make yoga optional then we will file a public interest litigation in the High Court,” said Adil Khatri, a trustee.

Secretary of SIO Raafid Shahab stated that instead of forcing students to perform Surya Namaskar, the BMC should focus on other forms of physical training. “I am unable to understand why the BMC is keen on implementation of irrelevant activities like Surya Namaskar leaving other priorities of quality teaching and infrastructure in schools behind. Bearing in mind the socio-cultural diversity of India, one cannot force students to practice any single form which is rooted in a particular ideology or culture since it takes away the democratic right of citizens which needs to be upheld at all costs,” said Shahab.

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Civic officials, however, pointed out that the implementation of the proposal will not be immediate. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta will now review the resolution passed by the elected body, give his comments on the feasibility and then send his remarks on the same to the state government.

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