AIZAWL, June 21: Mizoram today refrained from observing the International Yoga Day, but instead observed the closing ceremony of a year-long Healthy Mizoram Campaign, which was launched on the International Yoga Day (June 21) last year. Organised by the Assam Rifles, the campaign was launched by former Mizoram Governor Lt Gen Nirbhay Sharma (retd). The closing ceremony was attended by Lt Gen AK Mishra (retd), Vice Chancellor of the ICFAI University. The chief guest lauded the efforts of the Assam Rifles towards promoting a healthy lifestyle, especially in the remote border areas of the State which are devoid of basic medical facilities. 

The Healthy Mizoram Campaign aims to promote a natural, healthy and disease-free lifestyle through exercise and naturopathy among the general masses. More than 10,000 people have benefited from the Statewide campaign under which the Assam Rifles has conducted several health seminars, medical camps, blood donation camps, AIDS and drugs awareness campaigns and other health-related events. 

Ram Gopal Dixit, an expert in naturopathy and neurotherapy and a consultant posted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, also attended the closing ceremony along with Army personnel, NGOs, students and representatives from government departments. Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, his Cabinet colleagues and top officials of the State Government, however, did not participate in the Healthy Mizoram Campaign. 

The World Yoga Day has been courted controversy here with churches and influential organisations in Mizoram calling for a boycott of the day, citing incompatibility of yoga with Christian beliefs. 

In 2017, the State Government decided to hold a ‘Healthy Mizoram Campaign’ on the Yoga Day. In 2016, when the Mizoram’s AYUSH department planned to observe the International Yoga Day, the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute (church leaders) committee urged Christians not to practise yoga as it is not a part of Christianity and can dilute its doctrines. The church leaders pointed out they were not boycotting the Yoga Day, but only asked their members to refrain from practising yoga. 

Last year, the central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the apex body of the Mizos, said it would not participate in the ‘Healthy Mizoram Campaign’ to be observed coinciding with the International Yoga Day. 

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