ROHTAK/NEW DELHI: Adding fire to the raging 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' controversy, yoga guru Ramdev has said that but for the rule of law he would have "beheaded" lakhs of people for refusing to chant the slogan, drawing sharp condemnation today from opposition parties.
Slamming the call for "violent action and public intimidation", Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must take action against Ramdev while CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was a "deliberate diversionary tactic" to take the attention away from the problems faced by people, especially the farmers.
Ramdev's outburst came against the backdrop of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's recent remarks that he will not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' even if a knife is put to his throat.
"Koi aadmi topi pehan kar ke khada ho jaata hai, bolta Bharat Mata Ki Jai nahi bolunga, chahe meri gardan kaat do. Arrey is desh mein kanoon hai, nahi toh teri ek ki kya, hum toh lakhon ki gardan kaat sakte hain (Some person wearing a cap stands up and says that he will not say Bharat Mata Ki Jai even if you decapitate him. Look, there is rule of law in this country, otherwise let alone one, we can behead lakhs," Ramdev said in a veiled attack on Owaisi but he did not name anyone.
He also said that there is a rule of law and he respects the Constitution of this country.
"Hum is desh ke kanoon aur samvidhan ka samman karte hain, nahi toh koi Bharat Mata ka apmaan kare, ek nahi, hum hazaron, lakhon ke sheesh kalam karne ka samarth rakhte hain (We respect this country's law and the Constitution, otherwise if anybody disrespects Bharat Mata, we have the capability of beheading not one but thousands and lakhs," he said.
Chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' is an affirmation of citizens' faith in their country, their motherland and if a religion preached otherwise, it was against national interest, he said.
"If any religion prohibits chanting of Bharat Mata Ki Jai it is against national interest," Ramdev said addressing a 'Sadbhavna Sammelan' in Rohtak yesterday, holding that the chant is about the motherland and not any religion.
Chanting the slogan is not worship of any religion, the yoga guru said. "It is a matter of national honour, pride, prestige. We may be Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Christians, but we are Indians first)."
"Narendra Modi needs to tell India what action will he take against both Baba Ramdev and the RSS," Jha tweeted.
"Baba Ramdev's threat to 'cut heads off'...is a call to violent action & public intimidation. Mr Modi, await your action. Now!," he said in another tweet.
CPI-M leader Brinda Karat alleged that the Modi government has given a "virtual license" to Hindutva elements to selectively use slogans which divides the country instead of uniting it.
"Baba Ramdev seems to have alicense to say and do what he likes merely because of his proximity to BJP and RSS," said JD(U) leader Pavan Varma.