Govt can't force sun worship: HC

New Delhi, India - The Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered that the Madhya Pradesh government’s Surya Namaskar programme in schools on Thursday should be voluntary for students.

The court in Jabalpur on Wednesday passed an interim order while hearing petitions filed by Muslim organisations, which said that Surya Namaskar and Pranaya were Hindu rituals.

Individuals or institutions should not be forced to take part in the programme, the court said and asked the state government to reply in four weeks on petitioners’ allegation that the programme would hurt religious sentiments of minority communities.

The lawyer for Jamiat Ulma Hind and Bharatiya Muslim Sangh said reciting mantras during the programme would hurt the religious feelings of minority communities.

The Muslim organisations alleged that the government’s programme was against the spirit of the Constitution and intended to promote Hindutva ideology.

Appearing for the government, Advocate General Rabinandan Singh said the circular issued on January 18 has made it clear that the Surya Namaskar programme would be voluntary.