Yoga guru Ramdev has said he would have decapitated all those who refuse to say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” if the country’s laws did not stop him from doing so.
Ramdev, who was addressing a Sadbhawana rally in Rohtak on Sunday, also said any religion prohibiting someone from saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is against national integrity. He added that if a religion asks people to not honour the motherland it is against the interest of the country.
“Those preferring decapitation in place of chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ should be thankful that we are law abiding citizens and respect the Constitution. Otherwise, not just one, we would have beheaded all those refusing to chant the slogan,” Ramdev said.
He was alluding to All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and MP Asaduddin Owaisi who had said that he won’t shout the slogan even if a knife is put to his throat. He, however, did not directly name Owaisi.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-backed Sadbhawana rally, attended by over 200 holy men, sports stars, actors and singers, was held under the banner of Samajik Samarasta Manch at the New Anaj Mandi to give the message peace and brotherhood in Rohtak.
The city was the epicentre of the Jat quota stir in February during which the state was rocked by unprecedented riots and violence.
While the organisers of the well-attended show had maintained that the rally was apolitical, Ramdev, who was their lead speaker, also took digs at the Congress and Kanhaiya Kumar.
“Anyone who criticised the government was made a hero in the country,” he said.
Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda, wrestler Sangram Singh, singer Himani Kapoor, Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and cricketer Joginder Sharma – all of them belonging to Haryana – were also among the star attractions at the “peace and harmony show”.
The celebrities made appeals to residents to ensure that peace and harmony in the state remain intact and no such violence ever happens in the future. Khap leaders were also present from across the state, but they were not given a chance to address the gathering.
Himachal Pradesh governor Acharya Dev Vrat, who spoke at the rally, referred to the Vedas while making an appeal to the communities to unite.
“Vedas didn’t teach us to differentiate between caste and creed. They only taught us to be humans. If God had to differentiate among us, he would have given a trunk to Jats, or a tail to Rajputs,” he said.
His Haryana and Punjab counterpart Kaptan Singh Solanki, who was also invited, did not show up.
Chess player Anuradha Beniwal, whose video criticising the violence in Haryana went viral during the Jat agitation, said the Sadbhawana show would be a “cover-up” if the government does not answer why it let the riots happen in the state.
“Why did the ministers hide when the riots were happening? What steps did they take to stop arson? All the politicians enjoy caste politics and then blame one community for their own mistakes,” Beniwal, who came from London to attend the rally, said.
“The question to ask is, why we don’t have jobs? Why is there a difference between private sector jobs and government sector jobs? Money people get in private jobs is an apology for salary,” she said amid loud cheers from the crowd .
The event organisers intervened and asked her to cut short her speech.
However, Beniwal, taking a dig at the saints present at the event, said: “We don’t need to hear mantras in Sanskrit which we don’t even understand, but, in fact, we need to question the government for the riots.”