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Bhopal Congress MLA Arif Masood files plea against Surya Namaskar in schools as it is ‘against Islam’

Worshiping Sun as a deity is against Islam, Congress MLA Arif Masood said.

Bhopal Congress MLA Arif Masood has filed a plea in Madhya Pradesh High Court opposing the Surya namaskar programme being held in all government-run educational institutions from January 1 to February 7 on the occasion of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. The plea will be taken up for hearing on February 8, 2022.

Surya Namaskar contrary to Islamic principles: Congress MLA Arif Masood

The Congress MLA in his plea argued that the University Grants Commission directed higher education institutions and affiliated colleges to participate in a Surya Namskar programme, which was contrary to Islamic principles and the Constitution.

“Surya Namaskar is considered as Sun worship. Worshipping the sun is against Islam. The Constitution does not allow us to teach teachings of a particular religion in government educational institutions or to organize celebrations based on the beliefs of a particular group,” the petition said.

“The notification is infringing the right to liberty, freedom of religion of an individual as India is a secular country one should not be allowed to imply such things on anyone without their free will or consent,” the petition said. It added that the government should withdraw the order as worshipping the sun as a deity is not allowed in Islam.

The lawyer appearing for the Congress MLA cited an order passed earlier by the Madhya Pradesh high court in 2007 and urged that attending the Surya Namaskar should be voluntary, not compulsory.

Congress MLA challenges Madhya Pradesh Govt and other sports and central bodies

The petition contends that educational institutions should not be expected to participate in the Surya Namaskar event in front of the tricolour on Republic Day. The petitioner also questioned the decision of the state government of Madhya Pradesh, Patanjali Yogpeeth, Heartfulness Institute, NYSF National Yogasana Sports Federation, Geeta Parivar, and Kreeda Bharati, Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of Education, Ministry of External Affairs, and ICCR, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in the petition.

Who is Congress MLA Arif Masood

Arif Masood is the same Congress MLA against whom Bhopal’s Talaiya Police had in 2020 filed an FIR under Section 153 (hurting religious sentiments) of IPC. The case was filed against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a protest he had organized at Iqbal ground against French President Macron.

Masood had allegedly attacked the State and Centre governments and called them ‘Hinduwadi’ as the Centre has shown support to France in the fight against radical Islam. An effigy of the French President and the country’s flag was also burnt during that event.

As per the reports, the Municipal Corporation of Bhopal had also that year demolished a college building belonging to Arif Masood on the bank of a pond. The corporation demolished around 12,000 square feet of unauthorised construction in the presence of a heavy police force.

In a statement, Masood had claimed that he has the constitutional right to protest against anyone who speaks against his religion. Under his leadership, while raising chants of Islamic slogans such as ‘Naara-e-Takbeer’, Muslims in Bhopal protested against French President Emmanuel Macron for his alleged ‘Islamophobic’ act. Masood had said that thousands of Muslims had assembled at Iqbal Maidan on Thursday to protest against the French President for speaking ill against Prophet Muhammad.

Other Islamists who have opposed Surya Namaskar

On the occasion of the 75th Republic Day celebrations, the central government had directed that special programmes to perform ‘Surya Namaskar’ with musical instruments be organised across the country from January 1 to February 7 on the occasion of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. The goal is to reach a 75-crore ‘Surya Namaskar’ target by involving three lakh students across 30 states and 30,000 institutes.

Besides the Congress MLA, several other Islamic fundamentalists have raised objections to the central government’s decision to organise ‘Surya Namaskar’ programmes across 30 states and 30,000 institutes to mark the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. Recently, the Karnataka unit of the radical Islamist outfit Jamat-E-Islami Hind had taken strong objection to the central government’s directive to perform ‘Surya Namaskar’ on R-Day and asked Muslim students and parents to refrain from participating in such “idolatrous practice” as it is against Islam.

On January 4, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had also objected to the central government’s directive to organise ‘Surya Namaskar’ in schools between January 1 to 7 on the 75th anniversary of Independence Day, stating that Islam prohibits ‘Surya Namaskar’ as it is a form of Surya puja.

On January 9, Janta Dal (United)’s Bihar MLC Gulam Rasool Balyawi created a controversy by refusing to participate in the ‘Surya Namaskar’ event that was being organised by BJP on January 12 to mark the birth anniversary of Swamy Vivekananda, as it is not allowed in Islam. He added that as Allah gave birth to the sun, Muslims can’t pray to the sun.

Congress leader Kamal Nath has also opposed the Surya Namaskar day on January 12, although for different reasons. He has demanded that the event should be cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation, which has started to worsen in the country.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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