.- The Archdiocese of Bhopal issued a statement condemning a government order that obliges students in all schools and colleges to observe the Hindu practice of Suryana maskar on Jan. 25.
The archdiocese said none of its students will participate and that it is boycotting what is clearly a “Hindu religious practice,” reported ICNS.
Christian schools received the government order to send their students for practice session in Lal Parade ground for the suryanamashkar function. According to a Church spokesperson, schools had received notices to implement the order or face the possibility of de-recognition if they failed to comply.
Archbishop Pascal Topno said the Hindu practice should not be imposed on other communities and that Catholics stand together with the Muslim community on this issue. Some people in the Hindu community have also voiced their opposition to the order, saying that it is unnecessary.
A delegation met with the governor Jan. 23 to discuss the issue and a petition has been filed in the Jabalpur High Court.
Father Anand Muttungal, spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh Bishops’ Council, told ICNS that a deligation also met with the director of education, but to no avail.
“This move will divide the community on the basis of religion, and even the children will get affected by this,” Fr. Muttungal lamented. “We are not against yoga, in fact it is good for health, but the way it is being done is objectionable,” he added.
Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, comprising of pranayam, the control of breath and several main yogasanas, is the main component of Yoga. According to ICNS the practice is a traditional prayer offered to the pagan sun god.