Ramdev talks of yoga militia, Chidambaram returns fire
The UPA government has reacted strongly to Baba Ramdev’s plan to raise an 11,000-strong armed militia to deal with the security forces in case of a repeat of the Ramlila ground episode. HT reports. Saffron support for Baba | Threats, counters and rejoindersdelhi Updated: Jun 09, 2011 09:03 IST
The UPA government has reacted strongly to Baba Ramdev’s plan to raise an 11,000-strong armed militia to deal with the security forces in case of a repeat of the Ramlila ground episode. The BJP, however, made light of the threat. The Baba, who is on an indefinite fast against corruption at his ashram in Haridwar, said, “I want 20 young men from every district. We will train them in both shaastra (vedas) and shastra (weapons).”
Home minister P Chidambaram told a press conference on Wednesday that stern action would be taken against the Baba. “This statement shows his true colours and intentions. Let him do that, the law will deal with that.”
But BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain dismissed it, saying, “Baba Ramdev’s astra-shastra (weapons) are his vaani (sermon) and yoga.”
Explaining the sharp turn in the government’s approach to the Baba after sending four senior ministers to meet him at Delhi airport, Chidambaram said the reason was the sudden change in Ramdev’s plans.
He said the government had given permission to the Baba’s Bharat Swabhiman Trust to organise a yoga training session at the Ramlila ground from June 1 to June 20 for 4,000-5,000 people. But the authorities later noticed some violations of the conditions it had set and informed the trust about it.
The trust then sent a reply on May 28, saying there would be no programme, barring a residential yoga camp.
Chidambaram said despite such assurances, Ramdev made a sudden announcement that he would begin a fast-unto-death from June 4. And only then the government decided that the Baba should not be allowed to stage any protest or fast-unto-death.
The home minister said government representatives did engage Ramdev, but it became clear by late evening on June 4 that Ramdev was determined to go ahead with his fast. And according to the police, there were over 20,000 persons at the ground on the night of June 4.
What’s more, he said the government had received intelligence that there might be a danger to Ramdev’s life, which was one of the reasons for evicting him. But he refused to divulge more about it.
Pointing out that Ramdev had strong links with the RSS, Chidambaram said, “This is not an agitation by a yoga teacher or yoga guru, this is a political agitation.”