MUMBAI: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi today alleged that Maharashtra government, which has decided to celebrate the International Yoga day in educational institutes on June 21, was forcing the Muslims to take part in something that is prohibited in Islam.
State education minister Vinod Tawde said the AIMIM leader was "only interested in politicising the issue", and made it clear that not observing the yoga day won't invite any punitive action.
"The government has no right to make yoga compulsory for children. While doing yoga, one needs to do surya-namaskar, which means you pray to the sun. The government needs to understand Muslims cannot pray to anybody except Allah.
Secondly, it will be Ramzan that day. Why put people through unnecessary physical stress in our holy month?" Owaisi said, speaking to PTI on phone.
Instead of promoting yoga, the government can promote other sports like martial arts and Indian wrestling which do not hurt Muslim sentiments, he said.
"First the state government denied reservations to Muslims despite a High Court order, then came the beef ban. Now, it is yoga. Why is the government thrusting its ideology on us? Why is the government instead not thinking about the farmers who are committing suicide?" he said.
Tawde, reacting to Owaisi's comments, said the government did not intend to hurt the religious sentiments of anybody.
"There are many positions in yoga besides surya-namaskar. The whole world agrees that yoga has tremendous effects on the body and mind. We have not made it compulsory for any educational institution to conduct yoga session on June 21," Tawde told reporters here.
No action would be taken against institutions which do not observe yoga day on June 21, he added, terming Owaisi's stand as "unfortunate".