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Yogi govt does away with 15 public holidays. Muslim clerics miffed

Atul Chandra | Updated on: 26 April 2017, 16:39 IST

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet on Tuesday cancelled 15 public holidays, some of which were religious and the others to mark the birth anniversaries of noted personalities. However, this caused controversy as a section complained of religious discrimination.

Among the 15 holidays to go are Milad un-Nabi, the Prophet’s birthday, and Jamaat-ul-Vida, the last Friday of Ramzan. The state had 42 public holidays in all.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali said this decision would send a wrong message to the community. The Prophet’s birthday is especially celebrated the world over in a big way, the Maulana said.

The prayers offered on the last Friday of Ramzan hold a special significance for the Muslims, and as the prayers are offered in the morning they will now face difficulties. Some Muslims may now take up the matter with the government.

Zafaryab Jilani, the convener of the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC), call the government's move as discriminatory on religious grounds. The pruning left Christmas and Ram Navami untouched.

Main sarkaar kee khushamad nahee karoonga (I will not plead with the government),” Jilani said. He, however, added that the Alvida holiday was not as important as Milad un-Nabi.

Taking the birthday of the Prophet off the list, while retaining the birthdays of Ram, Krishna and Jesus Christ, was clearly discriminatory, the former additional advocate-general said. “After going through the government order, I will move court,” he added.

One Muslim leader argued that the Jamaat-ul-Vida holiday is not about celebrating the birth anniversary of any personality, the criteria set by Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi for pruning the list of public holidays.

Reverse trend?

 While Akhilesh Yadav had increased public holidays mindlessly, robbing students of their precious school hours and making the already lazy bureaucracy lazier, Adityanath seems to be trying to turn things around

During Akhilesh's stint, after adding 52 Sundays, summer and winter vacations students and teachers were left with little time to complete their curriculum. For government employees, almost half of 2016 was a holiday after including 52 Saturdays, 30 days of earned leave and 14 casual leaves.

In 2015, after the Samajwadi Party government had declared ten new holidays in the name of Sardar Vallabbhai Patel, Chandra Shekhar, Acharya Narendra Dev, Karpoori Thakur, the birthday of the Prophet, birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, Chhath festival, birth anniversary Maharishi Kashyap, Maharshi Nishadraj Jayanti and the annual urs of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti.

Adityanath Yogi’s cabinet on Tuesday decided to cancel all the above holidays besides five others – Chetti Chand, Vishwakarma puja, Parashuram Jayanti, evenJamaat-ul-Vida (Alvida prayers before Eid ul Fitr) and Chaudhary Charan Singh Jayanti.

“There should be no holidays in schools on birth anniversaries of great personalities,” the chief minister had said at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary on 14 April.

“Instead, a two-hour programme should be held in schools to tell the students about those personalities,” Adityanath had suggested.

He expressed concern that the 220-day academic session had been halved to 120 days due to these holidays and there will be no days left for teaching if the trend continued.

While there will be no more politics over holidays of which former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was so fond of, the government employees were also coming to terms with the Adityanath’s style of working.

His first three review meetings were a real test for the bureaucracy, known for its laid-back attitude and for the policemen, as the meetings began in the evening and continued till well past midnight.

First published: 26 April 2017, 14:33 IST