Adityanath scraps 15 holidays, some Muslims unhappy Prophet’s birthday on list

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had expressed concern over the shrinking academic session due to increased holidays. Students in schools and colleges will now be taught about eminent people through various programmes during the 15 public holidays.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrives for a cabinet meeting at Lokbhavan in Lucknow on Tuesday.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath arrives for a cabinet meeting at Lokbhavan in Lucknow on Tuesday.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 26, 2017 05:06 PM IST
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Lucknow, Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent

The Uttar Pradesh government has cancelled 15 public holidays marking the birth or death anniversary of eminent personalities. Among the cancelled holidays are Milad un-Nabi, Chhat and Valmiki Jayanti.

However, the move to cancel the holiday on Milad un-Nabi (Prophet Mohammad’s birthday) is likely to raise eyebrows. More so, since it is a holiday in most other states, including almost all BJP-ruled states, as is Ram Navmi and Janamashtami.

UP Muslim clerics took a dim view of the Yogi Adityanath government’s decision to cancel holidays on Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi as well as on the occasion of ‘Alvida’ – the last Friday of the month of Ramzan before Eid.

Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Cheti Chand Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Maharshi Kashyap and Maharaj Guha birth anniversary Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Hazrat Khwaja Muiuddin Chishti Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs Friday, April 14, 2017
Chandrashekhar’s birth anniversary Monday, April 17, 2017
Parshuram Jayanti Friday, April 28, 2017
Maharana Pratap Jayanti Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Jamat-ul-Alvida (Last Friday of Ramzan) Friday, June 23, 2017
Vishva Karma Puja Sunday, September 17, 2017
Maharaja Agrasen Jayanti Thursday, September 21, 2017
Maharshi Valmiki Jayanti Thursday, October 05, 2017
Chhath Puja Thursday, October 26, 2017
Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel and Acharya Narendra Dev Jayanti Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Eid-e-Miladul Nabi Saturday, December 02, 2017
Chaudhary Charan Singh Jayanti Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sunni cleric Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahal said, “It’s unfortunate that the UP government has cancelled these holidays on days that are of special significance to the community. While on the day of Alvida, the faithful offer prayers in large numbers the Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi holiday was in fact there since the days of the VP Singh government at the centre.”

“Several functions are held on the occasion and even non-Muslims participate in the functions in large numbers. Moreover the decision to do away with holidays on these two important days may not reflect well on the government not just among the Muslims in India but across the globe.”

Kalbe Hussain, son of prominent Shia cleric and vice president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said, “Since the government has also cancelled holidays pertaining to other religions too, it doesn’t across as a wholly unfair decision. At the same time it would be nicer if the government considered a rollback, especially on the day of Alvida simply because it’s a day when the community prays and fasts. So it would send a nice signal if the government considers this point too.”

Maulana Salman Nadawi, a Muslim scholar from prominent Lucknow-based Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama , said, “I guess these two holidays have been kept in the list of restricted holidays. Moreover the holidays associated with other religions too have been cancelled. So I don’t think it would be right to say that the government has deliberately discriminated against any particular community.”

Athar Hussain, from the centre of objective research and development, said, “The government is apparently trying to initiate a new work culture in the state and that’s something to be welcomed. However on matters where religious sensitivities are involved it would be nicer if the government considered a roll back. But I would also say that the chief minister Yogi Adityanath is right when he says that these holidays should become occasions to make students aware of the significance of the occasion.”

Uttar Pradesh has 42 public holidays of which at least 17 are related to the birth anniversaries of eminent personalities. Most of the holidays had been declared by the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) governments

The state cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Yogi Aduityanath, on Tuesday decided to scrap 15 of them. “The cabinet has cancelled 15 public holidays marking the anniversaries of great personalities. Students will now be taught on these days about these figures through various programmes,” minister Shrikant Sharma said.

There has been nearly 50% increase in public holidays over the past decade with political parties largely using these holidays to make a political point

Just before the 2017 UP polls, the Akhilesh Yadav government declared holiday on October 31, on the occasion of Sardar Patel birth anniversary; a decision many felt was taken to woo the Patels or the kurmis who constitute nearly 7% of the electorate in the state. In 2012, Akhilesh Yadav government had come under sharp attack from Mayawati after the SP government had cancelled the October 9 holiday on the death anniversary of BSP founder Kanshiram describing it as “anti-Dalit” mindset of SP leadership.

Adityanath in his address on the occasion of Dr BR Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary had expressed concern over the shrinking academic session due to increased holidays.

“There should be no holidays in schools on birth anniversaries of great personalities. Instead, a special two- hour programme should be held to teach students about them. The 220-day academic session has been reduced to only 120 days due to such holidays and if this tradition continues, there will be no day left for teaching in schools,” he said.

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