Baba on warpath, puts government on mat

Police stop march to Parliament, arrest and release him later; defiant Ramdev continues fast, takes aim at Cong-led govt

Published: 14th August 2012 10:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2012 10:42 AM   |  A+A-


Yoga guru Baba Ramdev put the government in a fix on Monday evening as he and his 7,000 followers refused to leave Ambedkar stadium here even after being released from detention by the Delhi Police.

Emboldened by support from parties across the political spectrum such as the BJP, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) and TDP on the fifth day of his fast, Baba Ramdev bowled a googly by announcing that he would continue to fast in the stadium.

Ramdev announced that even the Dalai Lama had extended support to his protest. The yoga guru, who was sitting on top of a car, was arrested along with his followers at 1.45 pm on Monday during his march towards Parliament.

He was forced into a bus by police and taken to Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana, which was designated as a temporary jail.

As the bus was passing the ITO area in Delhi, thousands of his followers marched on the roads and stopped the bus. After this, police took them to the Ambedkar Stadium where thousands of his followers joined him and courted detention.

Before Ramdev started his march towards Parliament from Ramlila Maidan, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav came to the venue at 11.30 am and addressed the gathering.

Gadkari said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has turned into the ‘Congress Bureau of Investigation’ and is being used as an instrument to harass people, including Ramdev.

Defending Ramdev’s aide Balkrishna, who is currently in judicial custody on allegations of having a fake passport, Gadkari said Balkrishna was sent to jail because he spoke on the issue of black money.

“We fully support Ramdev’s agitation on the issue of black money and will raise the issue in Parliament. There is so much corruption in this government,” Gadkari added.

Meanwhile, addressing the audience at Ramlila Maidan, Ramdev said the supporters of the movement will inform people all over the country about the issues they are raising and why the Congress party should be boycotted.

Ramdev said that the slogan henceforth should be Congress hatao, desh bachao (Unseat the Congress party to save the nation). He said that in protest he and his followers would also launch a jail bharo andolan (call to fill jails).

The yoga guru also got support from Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who joined him on the dais at 10 am. Ramdev also got the support of the Samajwadi Party as its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav announced that it would support anybody who fights against black money.

Ramdev said he and his supporters will not leave the place till the government provides his supporters with food and water.

“I will not break fast till my supporters are fed. So I will not end my fast today,” he added.

As the night progressed, anxious police officials led by Additional Commissioner Devesh Srivastava sought to convince Ramdev that the stadium was in the vicinity of the Red Fort where Independence Day celebrations would be held on Wednesday morning, and his present assembly at the stadium would be a security threat.

Ramdev agreed that Independence Day had its sanctity and that he would consider the appeal to not prolong the agitation till August 15. “But the question of leaving the stadium tonight does not arise,” he declared, while rejecting the police’s appeal for a quick vacation of the stadium.


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