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EVEN though the proposal to make Surya Namaskar and yoga compulsory in civic schools was approved in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on August 23 by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the Samajwadi Party is continuing its agitation against its implementation.
Apart from submitting representations to the Governor as well as the municipal commissioner, the party is conducting public meetings, rallies and signature campaigns in various parts of the city.
Citing violation of constitutional rights, SP leader Rais Shaikh stated that it was wrong to force students of other religions to perform Surya Namaskar, which has its roots in Hinduism.
“Implementing such proposals which are fundamentally bad in law is a clear violation of rights of any individual. We have been maintaining that we have nothing against yoga being introduced in schools, but making suryanamaskar mandatory in schools is wrong since it can hurt religious sentiments,” said Shaikh.
Samajwadi Party has organised signature campaigns across the city in areas like Govandi, Kurla, Malad, Malvani and Bhendi Bazaar among others and organised a public rally in Govandi on Wednesday to protest the proposal passed in the house. A few days ago, it had come to light that the civic body’s education department had issued a circular to all civic schools instructing them to conduct yoga classes for students. Shaikh had then demanded that the circular be revoked.
Shaikh also issued a notice to the municipal commissioner seeking a response on the approval of the “unconstitutional” proposal last week. He demanded that the circular be revoked and the concerned official from the education department suspended.
“We had given the commissioner a week to respond. Next week, we are filing a writ petition in the High Court against making Surya Namaskar mandatory in schools. We will also submit the signature petitions which have 8000 signatures so far and will reflect the opinion of the common people,” he said.
Shaikh added that there is a precedence to this issue in a case filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court where the judge had reportedly ruled that yoga cannot be made mandatory in schools.