200 mn set to observe first world Yoga day
In a first of its kind mega outdoor Yoga event, the Rajpath will witness grand ‘asanas’ being performed by enthusiasts.
In addition to this, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will lead the International Yoga Day on Sunday at the United Nations. The Indian Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General of India in New York have also lined up events to mark Yoga Day. Swaraj, along with the UN chief and the UNGA president, would visit Times Square where an estimated 30,000 people would practice yoga and where the UN celebrations would also be broadcast live on giant screens.
Addressing a press briefing, India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said that 256 cities in 192 countries will celebrate the first annual day of Yoga.
While in New Delhi, students, volunteers of NCC and government officials will join the mega event at Rajpath to make it a grand success. Security arrangements have been made for the celebration; 30 companies of security personnel will guard Rajpath and surrounding areas. Around 5,000 armed security personnel, including Delhi policemen will be deployed to secure the venue and the adjoining area around it.
A total of 30 companies (over 3,000 personnel) of Delhi Police’s special battalions along with other police personnel, National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, dog squads, sharp shooters and 18 Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) will be deputed in the area around Rajpath and Vijay Chowk since 3 am on Sunday.
Intelligence agencies have warned Delhi Police and other security agencies of a possible aerial attack, and that banned terror outfits could try to create trouble during the event.
Following the alert, Delhi Police have banned flying of kites, balloons, gliders and micro-light objects during the programme. The use of drones has also been banned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ministers, foreign diplomats and senior officials will be present at Rajpath for the event.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia will be attending the International Yoga Day celebrations at Rajpath too. “Kejriwal and Sisodia will attend the International Day Yoga’s celebrations tomorrow (Sunday) after both were invited by the Centre,” a senior government official said.
In West Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee-led government is gearing up to celebrate the Yoga Day with full fervour.
In Nagpur, Union Minister for Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will participate in the celebration as well. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will participate at a yoga programme in Lucknow. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu will travel to Chennai where 30,000 people are expected to participate while Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma will visit Noida to participate.
Punjab is also celebrating the International Yoga Day. The Akali government will be organising functions at Amritsar and Fazilka besides celebrating at various districts from 7 am to 7.35 am. In Haryana, where BJP is in power, Yoga day will be celebrated with great fervour. The state government led by CM Manohar Lal Khattar will be holding a state level function at Karnal as part of the celebrations.
The states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, under the rule of BJP rebels, are not much excited over the celebrations of Yoga Day. However, in Kerala, the Yoga Day is set to be a low key affair with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy keeping away from the celebrations.
State run schools in Karnataka are also exempted from celebrating Yoga Day although colleges will be forced to fall in line with the central government’s directive.
While the JD(U) government in poll-bound Bihar has not made participation mandatory for government school students, Yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth and other organisations aligned to the BJP have roped in young Muslim girls as trainers to bridge the religious gulf. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was non-committal about attending the show to be organised not far from his official residence, with Union Sports Minister and state BJP leader Sarbananda Sonowal at the helm of affairs.
Most schools and colleges are expected to remain closed on the day in Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh, where the state government has not issued any directives. “It’s an age-old practice and we aren’t opposing it. However, it should be voluntary and cannot be forced,” said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
In the Northeast, celebrations in Congress-ruled Manipur are expected to be confined to Central government institutions and educational institutes within defence establishments while the response of the Congress governments in Meghalaya and Mizoram to the event has been lukewarm.
One exception is the Left Front government in Tripura that has decided to go with New Delhi’s push for the event.