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Muslims gather against yoga in schools

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Aug 27, 2016, 4:44 am IST
Updated : Aug 27, 2016, 4:44 am IST

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has garnered support from the entire Muslim community against the proposal to make Surya Namaskar compulsory in civic schools.

SP leader Abu Azmi (centre) at Azad Maidan.
 SP leader Abu Azmi (centre) at Azad Maidan.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has garnered support from the entire Muslim community against the proposal to make Surya Namaskar compulsory in civic schools. Muslims from all across Mumbai, as far as Thane and Mumbra, gathered at the Azad Maidan on Friday to register their protest against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) decision.

The protests saw participation from scores of Muslim families, even though some of them do not have school-going children. They claimed to have gathered in solidarity with the Muslim community. The protest was guided by slogans of ‘Modi Murdabad’ and ‘BJP Murdabad’.

What has irked the community more is the BMC’s education office’s circular issued to all municipal schools even before the general body cleared the proposal, directing schools to practice 10 minutes of yoga during the school assembly every morning. While SP leader in the civic body, Rais Shaikh, sent a legal notice to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta on Friday, demanding that the latter withdraw the proposal within seven days or face legal action, SP state president Abu Azmi sat at the Azad Maidan protest on Friday.

Mr Azmi said, “This is a clear-cut political move. We will not succumb to it. They are threatening our religion. It is against our religion to bow down to anyone but Allah. The municipal commissioner will have to withdraw the proposal.”

Mr Shaikh’s legal notice states that the compulsion violates the constitutional fundamental rights to religious freedom given to all citizens of the country. Mr Shaikh said, “What is even more surprising is that the education officer had circulated notices to all schools directing them to start yoga sessions even before the BMC’s house approved it. Were they certain it will be approved ”

Muslim parents have threatened to withdraw their children from municipal corporation schools if the civic body does not take the proposal back. Yasmin Khan, who travelled to Azad Maidan from Mumbra on Friday, said, “We are not forcing Hindu kids to chant ‘Bismillah’ in schools.”