J&K: Omar Abdullah calls yoga event at sufi saint shrine ‘photo-op’

Srinagar, Jun 22 (PTI) Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has criticised the holding of the International Yoga Day event on the lawns of a revered shrine in Budgam district, calling the programme a “photo-op.”

The Army had on Wednesday, in collaboration with the administration, organised a yoga session for school students on the lawns of the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, popularly known as Sheikh-Ul-Alam and Alamdar-e-Kashmir, at Charar-e-Shareef in the central Kashmir district.

“The burial place of one of our most revered saints is used as a venue for a yoga day photo op!” Abdullah, the vice president of the National Conference (NC), said in a tweet.

Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu too took exception to the event calling it “absolutely hare-brained.”

“An absolutely hare-brained, inconsiderate idea to organise a demonstration at the shrine of Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani, Sheikh-Ul-Alam (RA).

“I’m all for Yoga but this is immensely problematic. Places of religious importance should be treated with utmost sensitivity,” Mattu wrote on Twitter.

Socio-Political activist Tahir Peerzada said it was a deliberate attempt to hurt people’s religious sentiments.

“This is a deliberate attempt to hurt the emotions, and sentiments of the majority community! But! Do they know HIS life is an example of peace, and brotherhood! The concerned Tasildar or SDM, who allowed this to happen should be sacked!” he too said on Twitter.

To Adil, another Twitter user, the exercise was “outrageous.”

“Outrageous that the resting place of Kashmir’s beloved Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani’s has been used by the state for this photo op. Sheikh-ul-Alam is the top-most Kashmiri Sufi wali, who all his life preached monotheism, and summarised the Holy Qur’an in his poetry,” he said.