New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led Central government has decided to drop 'Surya Namaskar' from 'asanas' to be performed by people across the country to mark first International Yoga Day on June 21.
The decision was taken after protest by several Muslim groups who termed this as ‘Hindu religious practice'.
However, Shripad Naik, Minister of State for AYUSH, the coordinating ministry for the Yoga Day events, said that the government has not made this mandatory as yoga has nothing to do with religion.
“We have not made anything mandatory. It is yoga and has nothing to do with religion. We request everyone... It is an opportunity for everyone in the country to showcase before the world our ancient legacy. This initiative has nothing to do with any party. This will help us bring pride to the country," he said.
He also added that Surya namaskar was never a part of the programme of Yoga Day.
On the other hand, the decision to scrap ‘Surya Namaskar' from June 21 celebrations has not gone down well with some leaders of BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
BJP's firebrand MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath vowed that he will celebrate Yoga Day on June 21 as planned and will also perform ‘Surya Namaskar'. He added that the people oppose Yoga, Surya Namaskar and Geeta are ‘narrow minded'.
VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said that it is wrong to link Surya Namaskar with religion.
Meanwhile, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has said that it will launch a nationwide campaign against making 'Surya Namaskar' and making Yoga compulsory in schools.
“We have decided to constitute a committee of our members headed by Maulana Wali Rahmani and launch a country-wide campaign against the move of making 'Surya Namaskar' and Yoga compulsory in schools,” AIMPLB member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali said.
Surya Namaskar, an important asan in yogic practice, has been termed by Muslim groups as ‘Hindu religious practice'.
India will lead the world to mark International Yoga Day on June 21 and a mega event has been planned in Delhi in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present.
The UN General Assembly had in December last year adopted an India-led resolution, supported by over 175 UN member- states, declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga', recognising that "Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being".