Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration's order directing college heads in the union territory to organise large-scale virtual 'surya namaskar' on Makar Sankranthi drew sharp criticism from mainstream political parties.
A circular issued by the directorate of higher education on Thursday (January 13) read, "To mark the holy occasion of 'Makar Sakranti' on 14th January 2022, GoI (govt of India) has desired that on the occasion a large scale virtual Surya Namaskar be organised under Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations."
The circular further reads, "To make it a people-centric successful programme with tagline, "Surya Namskar For Vitality', kindly ensure that all faculty members and students actively participate in this programme by registering on any of the following portals."
Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took to Twitter and sharply criticising the move, wrote, "Why should Muslim students be forced to do anything, including yoga, to celebrate Makar Sankranti? Makar Sankranti is a festival and to celebrate it or not must be a personal choice. Would the BJP be happy if a similar order was issued to order non-Muslim students to celebrate Eid?"
Omar later retweeted his party leader Umesh Talashi's post: "If tomorrow, a Muslim CM issues an executive order that everybody should observe fast on Ramzan, how will that sound for non-muslim community members? Babus, should stop imposing religious practices over people, they have no right to interfere in these matters."
Another former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the Centre's "misadventures" aim to collectively "humiliate" the people of Kashmir. "GOIs PR misadventures aim to demean and collectively humiliate Kashmiris. Forcing students and staff to perform suryanamaskars by issuing orders despite their obvious discomfort with imposition of something laden with religious connotations gives an insight into their communal mindset," Mehbooba said in a tweet.
Sajad Lone, Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference President, slammed the government for undoing the works of liberals and tweeted, "Y is the govt so insensitive. Now comes the surya namaskar episode. I wish the govt of the day understands that along many bloody battles fought in Kashmir — of immense importance was the war between liberal and radicals. How ur actions undo all that the liberals had earned (sic)."
If tomorrow muslim CM issues an executive order that everybody should observe fast on ramzan, how will that sound for non-muslim community members? Babus, should stop imposing religious practices over people, they have no right to interfere in these matters. pic.twitter.com/KclY6oJrEo
— Umesh Talashi (@UTalashi) January 13, 2022
Earlier, ANI had tweeted how the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has opposed the government's directive to organise 'Surya Namaskar' program in schools between Jan 1-Jan 7 on the 75th anniversary of Independence Day. The board said 'Surya Namaskar' is a form of Surya puja and Islam does not allow it."
Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party youth leader Junaid Azam Mattu said, "'Surya Namaskar’ has origins in deifying the sun. Read up. I respect those who consider the sun to be a deity as well as their right to deify and worship the sun. SIMILARLY, I respect those who don’t deify the sun as well as their democratic right to not be forced to deify it."