A day after Madhya Pradesh High Court ordered that participation in Surya Namaskar and Pranayam should be voluntary, mass programmes were organised for school students across the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state amid protests by minority communities and opposition parties.
The mass Surya Namaskar programme, held at schools of district and state levels, was attended by around three lakh students, official sources said, adding that the main programme was held in Bhopal in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with elaborate arrangements to telecast it across the state. Participation was voluntary.
Pamphlets against participation in the yoga programme were distributed by an organisation in Bhopal, while token protests against its introduction in schools were made in Seoni town, reports said. State ministers took part in the programme at different district headquarters.
At the programme in Bhopal, Chouhan announced a slew of concessions for popularising yoga.
Under this new policy, a yoga parishad will be formed in the state, facilities would be provided for setting up yoga centres to such organisations devoted to popularising and imparting training of yoga and an award of Rs 1 lakh would be given for outstanding work in popularising yoga.
Declaring that yoga had been included in the physical education syllabi of educational institutions, Chouhan said yoga teachers would be selected for imparting training.
The government was committed to creating awareness about yoga, which helps to keep the body and mind in good health, he said.
The event was monitored by special committees formed by district collectors, while ministers attended the programme in different districts and citizens, private organisations and educational institutions, were invited to attend it.
Two resources teachers were trained in every block to conduct the programme.
Terming the move as 'unconstitutional,' a committee formed at a meeting called by state unit of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, had sought Governor Balram Jakhar's intervention in preventing the programme.
On petitions by Jamiat Ulma Hind and Bharatiya Muslim Sangh, the High Court had on Wednesday ordered that the programme should be voluntary. Opposing the programme, political parties, including the main opposition Congress, have alleged that it was aimed at saffronising education.
With UNI inputs