Kolkata, June 21 : Hundreds of people -- men and women, young and old, VIPS and commoners -- on Thursday observed the fourth International Yoga Day in West Bengal by practising yoga in rural and urban areas, even as the state's Trinamool Congress government largely stayed away from the event.
Neither Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, nor any of her ministers, took part in the programmes connected with the celebrations.
In Kolkata, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma led a yoga event near Shaheed Minar in the central part of the city along with senior BJP leaders and hailed yoga for emerging as a widely celebrated global practice.
The day was observed befittingly over different sections of Eastern Command and the defence arena.
A large number of troops, their families and local citizens participated from far flung areas of the East and Northeast regions to spread the awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle.
INS Netaji Subhas held workshop cum practice yoga sessions by prominent yoga instructors and around 400 Air Warriors participated in the yoga sessions at the Air Force School, Barrackpore.
As many as 69,000 NCC cadets, 80 officers, 350 military personnel and 250 civil staff from West Bengal and Sikkim practised 'asanas' under the tutelage of expert yoga teachers.
Coast Guard personnel reached out to the extremities of West Bengal wherein a special campaign at Frazerganj by the hovercraft squadron demonstrated various asanas and their benefits.
The Border Security Force's South Bengal Frontier organised an hour-long yoga activity at the Digberia BSF camp in North 24 Parganas district's Madhyamgram as per the Common Yoga Protocol (CYP) issued by the Ministry of Ayush.
The students and campus residents at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in state's West Midnapore district observed the event at the Technology Students Gymkhana.
Trinamool Secretary General and Education and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said the day was observed in central Kolkata's Moulali and district schools.
Against the backdrop of Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi directly writing to the university vice-chancellors a few days back urging them to observe the day, an action that drew sharp protests from the state government, there was much interest about the extent of celebrations at the universities.
While around 400 people participated at a yoga session in Kalyani University's yoga centre, the physical education department and the National Service Scheme organised a yoga session in Jadavpur University.
The NSS personnel conducted a yoga sessions at the Calcutta University campuses.
A statement from IIT Kharagpur said the institute celebrated the day with a yoga demonstration at the Technology Students Gymkhana.
MCKV Institute of Engineering (MCKVIE) celebrated the day in the college premises in association with a wellness institute, and organised a yoga knowledge programme.