Mumbai: Stating that Yoga and Surya Namaskar are purely part of Hindu religion and culture, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Mumbai unit president Abdur Rahman Patni said forcing such practices in schools are an attempt to convert Maharashtra into Hindutva Laboratory.
Patni's response came a day after the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) made it mandatory for students in all its schools, including about 200 Urdu medium schools, to practice Yoga and Surya Namaskar.
"This is the second planned move by the BJP-Sena government to convert the state into Hindutva Laboratory", Patni said.
Elaborating further, he said, "The first such move was to enforce a ban on slaughter and consumption of beef - the decision which added to the woes of farmers."
He said by such decisions the government is trying to divert attention from its failures.
"The BJP came to power with a promise to convert Maharashtra into a developed modern state. It promised to end the woes of farmers. Failing to deliver its promises, the government is using dirty tactics to divert attention", Patni said.
"The government is dividing people of the state on communal and religious lines for petty political gains", he added.
"The two parties are ruling the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMS) since last 15 years but do not have anything positive in hand. Making Yoga and Surya Namaskar compulsory in schools is only to garner support in the coming election", he said.
"But, Mumbaikars are smart enough and they, instead of falling in this trap, have already decided to make the two parties accountable for their 15-year-long miserable rule", he said.
Earlier while participating in the debate before the BMC passed resolution to make compulsory Yoga and Surya Namaskar in schools, Samajwadi Party (SP) corporator Rais Shaikh demanded that Surya Namaskar be removed from the proposal altogether.
“BJP wants to bring Hindu customs in schools, which is a secular space, and wants to force the students to do things under the pretext of culture. We will take our children out of the school, if necessary, but we won’t let the BJP infiltrate into the minds of young children who should have the freedom to choose their religion and follow its customs,” he said.
Describing the BJP’s proposal as a “fascist move”, Congress corporator Mohsin Haider said, “We have nothing against yoga, but why should Surya Namaskar be made mandatory when it can hurt religious sentiments.”
BJP, however, argued that the proposal had no religious connotations and that yoga exercises were done by people across the world. “Surya Namaskar is not a part of religion but just a type of physical exercise,” said BJP’s Dilip Patel.