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Posts Tagged ‘Swami Ramdev’

War looms as UPA, Anna harden positions

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/blogs/boxpopuli/war-looms-upa-anna-harden-positions-073523746.html

By Ramakrishna S R | Box Populi – Wed, Jun 8, 2011

Everyone knows Anna Hazare has been demanding a stringent law against corruption, but his day-long fast at Raghat today is not for that cause. He is actually protesting the government’s violent midnight raid that scuttled Baba Ramdev‘s hunger strike last week-end.

The action at Delhi‘s Ramlila Grounds, where Ramdev was holding a fast against black money, has left 71 injured. With no place to go in the middle of the night, some found shelter in a gurudwara. The government’s high-handedness has triggered criticism from across the political spectrum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has defended the swoop, saying it was unfortunate but unavoidable. The National Human Rights Commission isn’t impressed, and has called for reports from the central and Delhi governments.

Last night, Times Now showed a 51-year woman in hospital, paralysed after being thrashed at Ramdev’s pandal. Raj Bala is a citizen like any other, but concerned enough to take part in a movement against black money. She now lies in a hospital ICU on ventilator support. Doctors describe her condition as critical.

The government isn’t winning any hearts by terrorising peaceful demonstrators. Even the Supreme Court was shocked by the midnight raid. It has taken suo moto notice, and ordered the government to explain the forceful eviction. People across the country are asking the same question: Why did the police assault a group of women and children deep in slumber? The police, meanwhile, have seized CCTV footage of their action from Ramlila Grounds. Why, you ask? Ramdev believes they are trying to destroy evidence of their atrocities.

Two more developments add to the repression the UPA government is unleashing: (a) it is busy digging up dirt on Ramdev’s close aide Balakrishna; and (b) prominent Congress leaders are tarring Anna Hazare with the communalism brush, describing him as a mask of the RSS and Sangh Parivar. If Balakrishna were a Nepali citizen who possessed illegal arms, as the government is now letting it be known, why didn’t the police act all these years? And if Anna Hazare were a mask for hateful rightist groups, why are the government’s senior-most leaders sitting down with him and discussing a new law?

Given the predominance of the tri-colour at Anna Hazare’s meetings and saffron at Ramdev’s meetings, many had assumed they were aligned to the Congress and the BJP respectively, but the equations aren’t turning out that simple. Anna Hazare is a Gandhian and Ramdev a yoga guru and TV celebrity. Despite their dissimilar moorings, they feel they are fighting the same battle, and have affirmed faith in each other.

That makes life that much more difficult for the Congress. It will now have to take on the combined forces of Anna Hazare and Ramdev.  It looks like the Congress is already panicking. It has already let Digvijay Singh loose on Ramdev, letting him call the baba names, and tried to stop Anna Hazare from demonstrating today at Jantar Mantar. With a flip-flop Congress turning vengeful and going after anti-corruption activists, Anna Hazare and Ramdev are bound to close ranks and prepare for a bigger battle.

Ramdev is continuing his fast in Haridwar, and has asked his followers to stop their hunger strike for the time being. The Delhi police had transported him to the pilgrim town after evicting him from Ramlila Grounds. They have also barred him from entering Delhi for 15 days. All of which suggests the action will hot up in the last week of June, whe Ramdev resumes his campaign in the capital. The civil society group led by Anna Hazare is bound to come up with a more aggressive plan of action if the government continues to treat them shabbily.

Meanwhile, the US, which has spoken out against Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square, clearly sees India as capable of handing its protests in a democratic manner. It has described the government action against Ramdev an internal Indian matter.

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India yoga guru launches anti-graft fast

Posted by Admin on June 5, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110604/wl_asia_afp/indiapoliticscorruptionprotestyogareligion;_ylt=AkKotfp75zUIdrHWCgIMcz5vaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTNoOTcyNnNyBGFzc2V0A2FmcC8yMDExMDYwNC9pbmRpYXBvbGl0aWNzY29ycnVwdGlvbnByb3Rlc3R5b2dhcmVsaWdpb24EcG9zAzIxBHNlYwN5bl9hcnRpY2xlX3N1bW1hcnlfbGlzdARzbGsDaW5kaWF5b2dhZ3Vy

India yoga guru launches anti-graft fast
Baba Ramdev launched his indefinite fast against corruption and black money in Delhi on Saturday after the government failed to persuade him to call off his protest
by Penny MacRae 14 mins ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India‘s most celebrated yoga guru embarked on a “fast unto death” on Saturday to force the country’s scandal-tainted government to accept his maverick anti-corruption proposals.

Swami Baba Ramdev, who has wide support from right-wing Hindu groups, began his hunger strike after a pre-dawn yoga session with his followers in an anti-graft campaign that has piled fresh pressure on the embattled government.

“What will India get from this protest? India will be saved,” the saffron-clad swami declared to thousands of cheering supporters as he launched his fast in a tent the size of four football fields in the Indian capital.

The guru, who energetically performed his yoga poses on a giant stage to the delight of his audience, has called for repatriation of so-called “black money” — cash stashed in foreign accounts suspected of being used for bribes and illegal transactions — and the execution of corrupt government ministers.

“Nothing is impossible, everything is possible and we are not going to be defeated,” declared the middle-aged, pony-tailed guru as fans whirled to cool his supporters in the sweltering summer heat.

Followers fasted along with Ramdev — some lying down, others sitting cross-legged in the tent erected at a site where a Hindu festival marking the triumph of good over evil is celebrated every year.

“This anti-corruption fight is very important for the nation,” said one hunger striker who identified herself as Veena as followers chanted “Ramdev” and sang Hindu devotional hymns.

Ramdev’s supporters across the country joined in the fast while a 22-year-old follower in northern Muzzafapur town attempted to set himself on fire to support the guru but was stopped by police.

The Congress administration is worried the protest could mushroom into a populist campaign against the government amid outrage over a slew of corruption scandals, notably a $39 billion telecom scam that has seen a minister arrested.

The bearded guru, who claims he can “cure” homosexuality, cancer and AIDS through yoga and other alternative therapies, accused politicians of gaining vast sums “from the people’s hard-earned money”.

“All corrupt ministers should be given the death sentence,” said Ramdev, who has a huge TV following for his daily yoga show, .

The government issued a statement saying the maximum penalty for corrupt bureaucrats would be “substantially increased” and pledged speedy trials for people accused of corruption but stayed silent on the guru’s demand that they should hang.

“As far as issues we are concerned, the talks (with Ramdev’s representatives) are on (to end the protest). We want to solve the problem of corruption,” said Congress party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

But he accused Ramdev of allowing himself “to be remote controlled by political interests,” referring to hardline Hindu nationalists who were on stage with the swami. Ramdev has insisted his anti-graft movement is secular and also invited Muslim clerics to share his podium.

Commentators have questioned the government’s willingness to placate Ramdev, saying it highlighted the administration’s weakness.

“Why is the government so afraid of Ramdev?” asked the tabloid Mail Today in a front page headline, complaining “top ministers do headstands to talk Baba out of his fast plan”.

Others said Ramdev and another social activist, 73-year-old Anna Hazare, who fasted for 98 hours in April demanding a tough anti-corruption law, were holding India’s democracy to ransom with no mandate from the people.

“For the first time in India’s constitutional history, an elected government has been hijacked by intellectual charlatans… even some assorted nutcases and loonies,” wrote Shekhar Gupta, editor of the Indian Express.

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