Ahead of celebrating its first International Yoga Day on June 21, India's centuries-old legacy of meditation-and-exercise is becoming a source of religious tensions in the country.
On Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party's controversial lawmaker Yogi Adityanath suggested that those who objected to the 'Surya-Namaskar,' a yoga exercise performed in reverence to the sun, live in a closed room or must jump into the sea.
(08/06/15) Iss sampurna brahmaand ke liye urjaa ke strotra hain Surya: Yogi Adityanath pic.twitter.com/rjqlGnAHDP— ANI (@ANI_news) June 9, 2015
Jinko Surya mein bhi saampradaayikta nazar ati hai, mai unse vinamrata se kahunga ki wo samundra mein jakar doob jayein: Yogi Adityanath— ANI (@ANI_news) June 9, 2015
While he did not refer to any specific religious community, the controversial lawmaker appeared to be reacting to objections raised by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board against the Modi-government's proposal of making the Surya-Namaskar mandatory in schools.
"Surya namaskar should not be made mandatory in government schools because Muslims bowed only before Allah," Kamaal Farooqui, a board member, said on Monday.