Did Tamil Nadu Govt Block International Yoga Day Celebrations in Park?
Did Tamil Nadu Govt Block International Yoga Day Celebrations in Park?

Chennai: In a move sparking significant controversy, the Dravidian stock DMK government in Tamil Nadu took steps to prevent residents of Chennai’s Mylapore from participating in International Yoga Day. The authorities locked the gates of a prominent park and deployed a heavy police presence, citing park maintenance as the official reason. However, this justification has been met with skepticism by many.

Global Celebration vs. Local Disruption
While International Yoga Day was celebrated globally, endorsed by the Modi-led Indian government and recognized by the UN, the event saw participation from various dignitaries, including local VIPs, heads of state, students, office workers, women, and housewives. The Modi government, which has established the Ministry of Ayush to promote traditional Indian medicine systems like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy, has championed this day since its global recognition.

Yoga Day in India
In India, significant gatherings marked International Yoga Day. The Prime Minister, President, union cabinet ministers, Supreme Court and High Court judges, and bureaucrats practiced yoga in public spaces such as beaches, promenades, cultural halls, and school and college auditoriums. In Chennai, Governor RN Ravi participated in yoga practice, underscoring the event’s importance in the city.

Appeals and Resistance
Anticipating resistance from the Tamil Nadu government, BJP state spokesperson ANS Prasad had earlier appealed to Chief Minister MK Stalin to ensure that International Yoga Day was celebrated in all schools and colleges across the state. Prasad emphasized that yoga is celebrated worldwide, including in Gulf countries, and urged the ruling DMK government to support Tamil Nadu’s participation in Prime Minister Modi’s health initiatives.

Park Closure and Police Deployment
Despite these appeals, the DMK government did not facilitate the celebrations. Critics argue this is part of a broader pattern of minority appeasement and opposition to the BJP. One stark example was the closure of Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore, an ideal venue for yoga due to its serene environment. Temple activist TR Ramesh reported that the park was locked under the pretext of maintenance, disputing this claim due to the heavy police presence at both entrances.


Ramesh condemned the action on social media, questioning the need for police deployment if the park was genuinely closed for maintenance. He suggested the real motive was to prevent citizens from observing International Yoga Day. Ramesh highlighted past instances where Hindu practices and celebrations faced government obstacles, contrasting these with leniency towards illegal structures associated with other religions.

Criticism and Allegations
Critics argue that the Dravidian stock government systematically opposes Hindu festivals, ceremonies, and customs. They cite the government’s refusal to permit the installation and immersion of Vinayagar idols, demolition of Hindu temples while allegedly protecting illegal mosques and churches, and preventing national flag rallies during the 75th year of independence in some areas of Tamil Nadu. They also point to the necessity for legal interventions to conduct RSS events and the initial denial of permission for the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Sri Ram Mandir, which was only allowed after Supreme Court and High Court orders.

The Government's Stance on Yoga
Critics contend that the DMK government perceives yoga as a Hindu ritual and is unwilling to support its growing popularity due to its perceived religious connotations. This perceived opposition has drawn significant backlash from various quarters, with many calling for more inclusive policies that recognize the cultural and health benefits of yoga without religious bias.

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