Kerala minister triggers row over Sanskrit verse on yoga day

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ShailajaCausing a controversy, Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on 21 June was displeased over recitation of a Sanskrit ‘shloka’ during the International Yoga Day celebrations in Thiruvananthapuram.

Taking part in the state-level yoga event at the Central Stadium, the minister asked the concerned officials whether the ‘shloka‘ (a couplet of Sanskrit verse) was necessary to be included in the programme.

“Ours is a secular country. Each religious community can have its own prayers to concentrate before starting a yoga practice. Those who do not believe in any religion also have their own methods to make the mind concentrate,” she said adding that a commonly accepted prayer could have been included in such an event.

As the issue snowballed into a controversy with the BJP criticising her, Shailaja clarified to the media that she only had doubted if rendering a ‘shloka‘ was in consonance an event, attended by people of various religions.

Rejecting reports that she wanted an account as to why the ‘shloka’ was included in the event, BJP state unit chief Kummanom Rajasekharan flaying Shailaja, said her act was condemnable.