Jamiat to file petition against compulsory Surya Namaskar in BMC schools

By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,

Mumbai: Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, a prominent Muslim organisation has decided to file a petition before Bombay High Court against Bruhan Mumbai Corporation’s (BMC) decision to make Surya Namaskar and Yoga compulsory in all municipal schools including Urdu schools.

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On Friday, Shiv Sena-BJP ruled BMC passed a resolution making Surya Namaskar and practicing Yoga mandatory for students in the BMC schools. BMC has total of 1,285 schools, out of which about 400 are Urdu medium schools where most of the students are Muslims.

Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui, president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (Mahmood Madni), Maharashtra confirmed the development and said such an imposition of Hindu centric practice on minority students is in violation of the secular principles of the country.

“BMC schools must concentrate on improving quality of education imparted to students than indulging into making such practices compulsory that are viewed by Muslims as against tenets of their religion”, he told Twocircles.net.

“If this decision remains in force, then Muslim parents will not send their students to BMC schools and consequently it will have a negative impact on their already low literacy rate”, he added.

Siddiqui also said that the Jamiat had filed a similar petition in the Madhya Pradesh high court challenging the same issue due to which the government was forced to file an affidavit in the MP high court that they would not compel students to perform Surya Namaskar.

“We will file similar petition before Bombay high court and will try to overrule BMC’s decision,” he said.

Speaking on the legality of civic body’s decision, advocate Tahiwar Khan Pathan, a senior lawyer who represents the legal cell of Jamiat, said it will violate minority students’ fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution.

He added that Surya Namaskar is against Islam as it requires spiritual and physical bowing before the sun in devotion which is completely prohibited by Islam.

“Making such practice compulsory for Muslim students will be in violation of Article 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) and Article 26 (freedom to manage religious affairs) of the Constitution of India. We shall challenge civic body’s decision on this ground”, Pathan explained.

On August 25, Muslims for Secular Democracy, a Mumbai-based association which includes civil rights activist Javed Anand and political activist Feroze Mithiborwala, had protested against the BMC decision. They said that the decision to impose Surya Namaskar on all students irrespective of religion is an integral part of the BJP’s saffronisation agenda, and asked for a roll back of this unconstitutional decision of the BJP and its ally, the Shiv Sena.