Political and religious bodies across the Kashmir Valley hit out at the J&K administration for its order directing college heads to organise ‘Surya Namaskar’ event on the eve of Makar Sankranti festival and ensure the participation of students and staff members. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema, an amalgam of social and religious organisations in J&K, said: “Muslims of J&K are respectful of all religions and believe in harmonious coexistence… It (orders) narrates the sorry state of affairs prevailing in India where practice of one religion gets promoted and imposed in the name of peace, while the other (Friday prayer in Jama Masjid) gets banned and barred in the name of threat,” read the statement issued on Friday. Former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti said that such orders were ‘Government of India’s public relation misadventures aimed to demean and collectively humiliate Kashmiris’. “(Such) orders…give an insight into their communal mindset,” she said.
NC’s Omar Abdullah said Muslim students should not be forced to do anything including Yoga to celebrate Makar Sankranti and whether to celebrate it or not should be a personal choice. “Would the BJP be happy if a similar order was issued to order non-Muslim students to celebrate Eid?” People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone said: “With these Surya Namaskars, you (government) are emulating the radicals.”After the uproar, J&K LG advisor Farooq Khan later in the day said Surya Namaskar wasn’t mandatory for any government employee. “If employees don’t do Surya Namaskar, he or she is not doing a crime and won’t be terminated,” he added.