PDP-BJP Government Gives Yoga Day A Miss In Kashmir

18 June 2015
The Hindustan Times
Toufiq Rashid

Srinagar: While Muslims in various parts of the country are still debating whether yoga is allowed as per Islam, the Jammu and Kashmir government has not passed any directive making participation in International Yoga Day mandatory. Unlike the rest of the country, there is no official announcement about organising Yoga Day neither have officials received any direction for making preparations for it. In the absence of a direction, Kashmir has remained more or less indifferent to the controversy. The decision of not issuing a direction have come as a surprise to many as the event is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP is an alliance partner in the state government. Except for a subtle protest from socio-religious organisation Jama'at-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, which on Thursday called Yoga 'blasphemous' and asked the people not to get 'swayed by propoganda and restraint in participating in the event'. 'Yoga is not a simple exercise, but a religious exercise-cum-prayer of a particular polytheistic community in which besides physical exercises, some religious practices of this particular community are intermixed. During yoga some words are recited, which contradict the basic faith of Islam and as such are blasphemous for the Muslims,' said a Jama'at-e-Islami spokesman. As the day coincides with the holy month of Ramza (fasting), official sources say the government has given it a miss to avoid inconvenience to the people, who faithfully observe the month by going without food and water from dusk to dawn. 'The people will be waking up at 3 in the night, expecting them to come out for yoga at 7 in the morning will be little unfair,' said an official. It will be the third day of fasting as International Yoga Day being celebrated throughout the globe on June 21. Even educational institutes, including the ones run by the state government, have made no attempt for organising the event, which is likely to be a world record. The mass-outdoor yoga sessions across the country are likely to help India secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. 'We have not given any direction so far, but some schools where yoga is being practiced, may do it on their own. Even schools that have NCC cadets might participate,' said director, school education, Showkat Ahmad Beigh. Educational institutions, including those run by missionary organisations, have also not made any arrangement for observing the day. Being Sunday, the government and other private institutions will remain closed on the day.