J&K Leaders Criticise Administration's Order to Organise 'Surya Namaskar' on Sankranthi

The order directed college heads in the Union Territory to organise a large-scale virtual 'surya namaskar' on Makar Sankranthi.

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration’s order directing college heads in the union territory to organise a large-scale virtual ‘surya namaskar’ on Makar Sankranthi drew sharp criticism from mainstream political parties on Thursday.

“Why should Muslim students be forced to do anything, including yoga, to celebrate Makar Sankranti? Makar Sankranti is a festival & 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?” former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

Another former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the Union government’s misadventures aim to collectively humiliate the people of Kashmir.

Also read: Compulsory Surya Namaskar in Mumbai Schools ‘a Ploy to Saffronise Education’

“GOIs PR misadventures aim to demean & collectively humiliate Kashmiris. Forcing students & 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.

National Conference (NC) spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar demanded the order be rolled back.

“The fact that heads of colleges in Kashmir have been directed to ‘ensure’ participation of faculty, students and the fact that these Heads are now forced to force Muslims to perform ‘Surya Namaskar’ is a proof of religious interference. Roll the order back,” he tweeted.

Criticising the order, PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said he would not permit his children to participate in any such activity and nor force anyone else to do it his way.

“There is no God but God and He alone is worthy of Worship. To you your faith to me mine (Qur’an) No compulsion in Faith (Qur’an). I would not permit my child participate in any such activity. Nor force anyone else to do it my way,” Akhtar said.

NC’s former MLA and influential Shia leader Ruhullah Mehdi said if an individual can sign an order which is against his or her faith and freedom of religion, it is more worrisome than the oppression itself.

“The oppression does not reflect in this order or desire as much as the slavery reflects in the pen of the undersigned. They told them to bend, the so called leadership of Kashmir crawled. But what about the society as a whole? What does the signature in this case reflect?”

“If an individual can sign an order which is against his/her faith and freedom of religion, it’s more worrisome than the oppression itself. If the people asked to attend, give in to this order and participate, it’s us (the society) to be blamed for the consequences, not them,” Ruhullah said on Twitter.