Aizawl/Agartala, June 21 (IANS): The International Yoga Day was observed, enthusiastically in Left Front-ruled Tripura and at low key in predominantly Christian Mizoram on Tuesday after church bodies asked their members to refrain from the practice of Yoga.
The main event of the International Yoga Day in Mizoram was held at Assam Rifles Ground in Aizawl where Governor Nirbhay Sharma was the chief guest.
He told the participants, "Yoga could become instrumental in curbing high incidence of cancer and HIV/AIDS, drug addiction, metal and physical stress and alcoholism and other social evils."
Senior officials and troopers of Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, and cadets from the NSS and NCC and Mizoram government officials took part in the programme.
"The argument over Yoga should be sorted out through mutual talks and no one should be compelled to practise Yoga. It should be practised willingly," Governor Sharma earlier told reporters in the Mizoram capital.
Sharma, who served in the Indian Army for more than 40 years in different capacities, said: "I have practised Yoga for over four decades, which I found was extremely good for health, but it did nothing to reinforce my religious belief."
"Practising Yoga does not mean conversion to Hinduism," he said.
"Alteration of way of life and exercise could make Mizo youth healthier, physically and mentally," he added.
Recently, the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of 14 major churches, asked all their members in the state to refrain from the practice of Yoga.
"We have served this note to all church members to refrain from the practice of Yoga after a meeting of MKHC on June 2," said Lalramliana Pachuau, Senior Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church's Mizoram Synod.
Pachuau, one of the key leaders of the MKHC, said in a statement that the churches did not have to protest the government's propagation of Yoga at the official level as the government is a secular institution.
"The churches regarded Yoga as something that can dilute the doctrine of Christianity and asked all the constituent churches of the MKHC to issue messages cautioning their members," he added.
In Tripura, the International Yoga Day was observed across the Left-ruled state.
Tripura's Sports, Youth Affairs, Education and Health Departments jointly observed the day at 70 places in the state.
"From gram panchayat level to state level, Yoga events were organised today. Colourful rallies were also organised everywhere before performance of Yoga by school students, security personnel and people from other walks of life," Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sahid Chowdhury told reporters in Agartala.
The minister said Yoga courses and training would be introduced in 105 primary schools from Class one to eight this year.
Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy took part in several Yoga events here and southern Tripura's Udaipur.