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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Ramdev allowed to proceed with UK visit

PTI  London, September 21, 2013
First Published: 18:06 IST(21/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:14 IST(21/9/2013)

Yoga guru Ramdev was on Saturday cleared by UK authorities following a second round of questioning at Heathrow Airport in London, a day after he was detained and quizzed by customs officials for over six hours on landing in Britain.

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Though UK immigration cleared Ramdev and allowed him to carry on with his programmes in Britain, the yoga guru said he was not given any reason for his detention on Friday.

According to sources, his questioning by airport officials was related to him travelling on a visitor's visa instead of a business one.

Ramdev arrived at Heathrow Airport on Saturday evening with British Indian MP Keith Vaz to meet the chief immigration officer.

The immigration officer later gave Ramdev leave to enter the UK lawfully and carry on with his programmes.

Emerging from the nearly 20-minute meeting, Ramdev claimed the Indian government may have had a hand in his detention.

"I'm sad to say that our government did not support us. I'll wait for all the details but what happened indicates that the UK authorities may have been misguided by the Indian government. I believe a red alert was attached to my name," Ramdev said.

Earlier, the yoga guru told reporters he had "never done anything unethical or wrong". He said, "I have been travelling to the UK and the US for eight years and I have never been treated the way I have been treated this time.

"Since yesterday (Friday), I have been asking the UK officials to tell me what my fault is," he said.

Ramdev further said he had followed all rules and visa conditions of the British government. "I would only expect that the way we respect the UK, they will show India and Indians the same respect. I'll accept whatever they decide." He is in Britain to chair a series of 'yoga shivirs' and talks organised by the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust.

The UK Home Office refused to comment on what it described as an individual's questioning over immigration issues.

Ramdev's spokesperson S K Tejarawala dismissed reports that he was detained for carrying some medicines. "He was not carrying anything with him except a small bag of personal effects. It is for the British authorities to explain why he was detained," he said.

His detention has been criticised by the BJP which urged the Centre to intervene. BJP President Rajnath Singh termed the detention of the yoga guru as "serious" issue and asked the Centre to take cognisance of the matter.

One of Ramdev's events in London, scheduled for this evening, was put on hold.

The yoga guru was to address a gathering of NRIs at the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Lampton Park Conference Center in southwest London.

He was to be joined by high-profile speakers, including BJP parliamentarian M Venkaiah Naidu and British minister Baroness Sandip Verma.

Ramdev was then scheduled to make the keynote address at "The Future of India ? Through the eyes of an NRI" event at the same conference centre tomorrow. He was expected to be joined at this event by Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousufzai.


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