Posts tagged ‘fight against corruption’

June 24, 2011

Anna may get ‘Ramdev treatment’: Digvijay

Jabalpur (MP): In a veiled warning to Anna Hazare for his proposed fast, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Wednesday indicated that the Gandhian might be meted out the same treatment, depending upon the prevailing situation at that time, as yoga guru Ramdev was given at Ramlila ground.

“If Anna goes on a fast in New Delhi, he will also be meted out the treatment depending upon the prevailing situation at that time,” Singh said without mentioning the crackdown on Ramdev’s protest at Ramlila grounds recently.

According to Singh, the younger supporters of the anti-corruption crusader “flatter” him to fast without considering his old age.

“His (Hazare’s) supporters flatter him and make him sit on a fast. Instead of Anna, his young supporters should go on the fast,” Singh told reporters in an informal chat here after returning from Jabera of Damoh district.

Asserting that the parliamentary form of system was always supreme, Singh said that the government was accountable to people rather than to Anna and his team.

“Though Anna was a Gandhian, his supporters weren’t the same,” he said.

Taking a jibe at the RSS, he said that he was a better Hindu and follows the tenets of Hinduism much more religiously than the so-called Hindu organisations.

“Which religion teaches bomb making for blasts or which Koran calls for killing innocent people,” Singh said, adding that the real motive of these so-called organisations was to raise donations.

Replying to a query, he said that Dwarka Shankracharya Swaroopand Saraswati was a freedom fighter who was jailed during the freedom struggle while members of the so-called Hindu organisations were indulged in slavery of Englishmen.

(source: zeenews)

June 13, 2011

Mixed feelings among followers as Ramdev ends fast

Baba RamdevDehradun: The end of Ramdev’s nine-day-old fast against corruption and black money today evoked mixed feelings among hundreds of his supporters with a section of them unhappy with the yoga guru’s decision.

While many of his followers supported Ramdev’s decision, some were disappointed and wanted Ramdev to go ahead with his fast till the Centre accepted all his demands.

“Ramdev should have continued for some more days as he was able to successfully wake up people over the issue of corruption. I am unhappy over his decision” said Lakhan, one of his followers, who had come from Muzzaffarpur.

“I am with the yoga guru. I have come from Andhra Pradesh to pledge my support. I am slightly disappointed over his decision. But whatever it is we will support it happily,” said Hyderabad-based businessman Lalit.

Ramdev, along with his confidant Balakrishna, today ended his fast heeding the appeals of various spiritual and religious leaders including Sri Sri Ravishankar.

The duo had been brought to the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences near here after Ramdev’s condition worsened on the seventh day of his fast at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar on June 10.

“It is good that he has broken his fast. It is a matter of happiness for me. I will also have food now. Our fight will continue till central government accepts all his demands,” said Rukmani, who had come from Motihari district in Bihar to fast with Ramdev.

Ramdev was fasting from June 4. Today was the ninth day of his protest.

“It is good that Ramdev tried to do something for the welfare of the country. But it should be the government’s duty to remove corruption from our country and bring black money stashed in foreign banks,” said Mukul, who runs a small eatery outside the hospital’s main gate.

The hospital compound was the centre of attraction for past three days as locals were amused and excited over the presence of a huge number of mediapersons from both print and electronic media who remained at the spot 24×7 ever since Ramdev was admitted to the hospital.

“I have never watched mediapersons so closely. It was exciting. I was getting first hand news on Ramdev,” an exciting Renuka said.


June 9, 2011

Baba Ramdev to declare assets, defends call to arms

Baba RamdevHaridwar:  Baba Ramdev, who will declare his assets today to counter allegations that he has illegal wealth, has also defended his controversial call to arms yesterday.

On Wednesday, the Baba had said he would build and train an army of 11,000 men and women to fight corruption and warned the government that the next time there was police action at a protest, his supporters would be armed and would retaliate. He did not climb down completely on Thursday, but was on the defensive when he said he was not “training terrorists or Maoists, but nationalists.”

“The words should be used in the right context…I said I will make a force who will not beat anyone but they will not get beaten either,” the yoga teacher said, adding, “what is the harm or wrong if I speak about shaurya (valour)?”

Ramdev’s provocative comment in Haridwar yesterday caused a political storm in nearby Delhi. He had said: “Twenty youth from each region will come forward for our fight against corruption. They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They will be given arms training. Next time at Ramlila it will be Ravanlila. Let’s see who gets beaten up.”

The government made its stand clear. “It is anti-national and we have to take action,” warned V Narayanswamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office. (Watch) An hour later, the Home Minister weighed in. “I’ve seen Ramdev’s statement. By making that statement he’s exposed his true colours and intention. Let him do so and the law will deal with that,” P Chidambaram said.

Later on Wednesday evening, a statement issued by his spokesperson SK Tijarawala said that the Baba did not mean training in the use of guns or bombs and that the intention was not to take law in their hands.

he government has been caught in a face-off with the yoga icon since the weekend, when it ordered the police to dismantle a massive camp that the Baba had organised – it combined yoga with a sit-in against corruption. On Saturday, the Baba launched an indefinite hunger strike. Hours later, the police moved in and arrested him. The 65,000 people gathered at Ramlila Maidan were teargassed and lathi-charged.

The incident brought together activists and opposition parties who condemned the government for breaking up a peaceful demonstration.

Gandhian Anna Hazare was also on a one-day fast on Wednesday at Rajghat in the Capital to protest against the action at Ramlila Maidan, and to push the government to agree to a new corruption law that’s being drafted partly by activists led by him. Mr Hazare- the face of a campaign named India Against Corruption – declared that his movement is a “second freedom movement.” If the government doesn’t introduce the new Lokpal Bill by August 15, he warned, he will go on another fast.


June 8, 2011

Ramdev threatens govt, will raise armed force

Baba RamdevBaba Ramdev whose protest against corruption was crushed by police at the weekend warned on Wendesday of violence and threatened to train an army of 11,000 followers. Baba Ramdev issued the call-to-arms from his ashram near the holy town of Haridwar 130 miles (200 kilometres) north of New Delhi after he was ejected from the capital. He and 50,000 supporters had gathered in Delhi to hold a hunger strike as part of a growing wave of dissent against the government’s failure to tackle corruption.

But early on Sunday, police wielding sticks and firing tear gas broke up the protest in a surprise move that infuriated Ramdev’s millions of followers and triggered sharp criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Ramdev, whose popularity stems from his daily yoga shows on television, called for men and women to join his “army”.

“They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice,” he said in remarks reported by television news channels. “They will be given arms training. We will build an army of 11,000 men and women.”

His spokesman said that the force would have weapons but would act only in self-defence. He said that Ramdev was determined to stand up to police if they again attacked him or his supporters.

Corruption has become a major focus of public discontent in the country, and Ramdev’s hunger strike – which he resumed on Monday – has piled further pressure on the government.

The main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought to tap into the anger, with leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday travelling to met Ramdev in Haridwar.

Another hunger striker, veteran activist Anna Hazare, on Wednesday attracted thousands of people to a one-day demonstration in Delhi to protest against the police crackdown on Ramdev.


June 8, 2011

अन्ना हजारे का राजघाट पर अनशन आज

अन्ना हजारे और उनके समर्थक दिल्ली के राजघाट पर एक दिन का अनशन करेंगे। इस अनशन को पहले जंतर- मंतर पर किए जाने का योजना थी पर पुलिस ने इसकी अनुमति नहीं दी जिस वजह से इसका आयोजन अब राजघाट पर किया जाएगा।

अन्ना हज़ारे ये अनशन बाबा रामदेव के आंदोलन में हुई पुलिस की कार्रवाई के विरोध में कर रहे हैं। अनशन सुबह 10 बजे शुरू होगा। इसके साथ ही एक प्रार्थना सभा और लोकपाल विधेयक के मुद्दे पर चर्चा की जाएगी। सिविल सोसायटी के मेंबर प्रशांत भूषण ने बताया कि जंतर-मंतर नई दिल्ली में आता है जहां पर धारा 144 लागू की गई है इसलिए अनशन को राजघाट पर किया जाएगा क्योंकि वहां पर धारा 144 लागू नहीं है।


June 7, 2011

Anna Hazare and team shift fast venue to Rajghat

Anna HazareNEW DELHI: Civil society members led by Anna Hazare have decided to shift the venue of their day-long protest on Wednesday from Jantar Mantar to Rajghat to avoid “confrontation” with police, activist Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.

“We are shifting to Rajghat. We have spoken to the commissioner of police and will fast in the vicinity of Rajghat tomorrow from 10am till about 6pm We will fast and pray the whole day,” Kejriwal told reporters.

“There will also be a debate on the Lokpal bill at 5pm,” he added. Both Kejriwal and Hazare are part of the anti-graft Lokpal bill panel.

While Baba Ramdev had held his protest at Ramlila ground, Hazare and other activists had announced a fast at the Jantar Mantar soon after the yoga guru’s eviction from Delhi.

Police on Sunday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in areas that include the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila ground.

Earlier, Kejriwal said police had denied permission to the Gandhian to fast against corruption at Jantar Mantar,

Calling the police action “arbitrary”, Arvind Kejriwal told reporters that Hazare and his supporters would hold a peaceful protest in the heart of the capital nevertheless.

“Anna Hazare has given a call for prayers and fasting. How can prayers and fasting pose law and order problems?” he asked, adding that police had cited law and order as the reason for denying permission for the Wednesday hunger strike near the Jantar Mantar monument.

Kejriwal said that Team Hazare, who he described as civil society representatives, would assemble on Wednesday against the police decision and court arrest if necessary.

“Anna Hazare is 73 years old. He is a man of peace,” he said, calling upon people to lend their support to Wedneday’s protest. “The government ought to explain what threat does Anna Hazare pose.”

Kejriwal said the government was behaving “as if they have the right to be corrupt and if anyone protests, they would either be crushed” or made to face legal orders banning the assembly of five or more people.

Delhi Police imposed the orders on Sunday in the New Delhi district — the heart of the capital — as they cleared the Ramlila ground of yoga guru Ramdev, who too was fasting against corruption, and his supporters.


June 7, 2011

Ramdev says history will not forgive Manmohan for “political sin”

Baba Ramdev Fast against corruption

With the government toughening its stand against Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru on Tuesday said he forgave the Prime Minister for the crackdown on his agitation but history will not forgive him for the “political sin” he committed.

“The Prime Minister termed it (the police action) unfortunate. In a way he has accepted his sin. Since he has accepted his sin, I have forgiven him,” Baba Ramdev told reporters here.

“I have personally forgiven him but the history of not only India but the whole world will never forgive him for the political sin he committed. He has tainted democracy,” Baba Ramdev, who is continuing his satyagraha here, said.

The yoga guru was reacting to Dr. Singh’s remarks on Monday that “it was unfortunate that the operation had to be conducted but quite honestly, there was no alternative.”

Baba Ramdev also attacked the Congress for ridiculing his escape in a women’s dress from the ground, saying even Maratha warrior Shivaji had escaped in disguise to secure the nation.

“If anybody saves his life for securing the nation, they won’t like it. Even Shivaji had saved his life. But these people do not accept Shivaji as their ideal. Their target is to protect terrorists and kill Baba.”

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had on MOnday said, “A satyagrahi does not run away stealthily wearing women’s dress. Satyagrahi is always ready to sacrifice his life“.

Baba Ramdev also alleged there could be “five kinds of conspiracies” to eliminate him at the Ramlila ground from where he was evicted after his talks with the Government to end the fast failed.

The yoga guru said that he suspects that the police would now edit the recordings made by the CCTV cameras installed at the ground in a bid to wipe out the evidence so that they escape action.

“We had put CCTV cameras in the camp, which recorded the events. If the police had not done anything wrong, why did they took away the footages forcibly. This is clear cut goondaism of the police.

“Our workers who had gone there have been embroiled in false cases under a conspiracy. The police will now edit the footage and then release after deleting portions so that no action follows against them,” Baba Ramdev said.

Baba Ramdev said there could be conspiracies to kill him by strangulating, burning the stage on which he was sitting and shooting him.

He said the government’s argument that there was a threat of terrorist attack on him could be the fifth conspiracy to eliminate him and alleged that an e-mail has been “manufactured” by the government to make it convincing.


June 7, 2011

Forceful eviction of Baba Ramdev shocking: IAIF

Baba RamdevWashington: Expressing shock at forceful eviction of Baba Ramdev and his followers from Ramlila Maidan, a New York-based Indian American body termed it as a dangerous attack on the democratic set up in India.

“Baba Ramdev’s intent behind this movement is to bring back approximately USD nine trillion stolen from poor Indians and stashed in foreign countries; and he is determined to reverse this awful trajectory,” the New-York based Indian American Intellectual Forum (IAIF) said in a statement.

Under no circumstances it was supposed to create a law and order problem as is being claimed by the Central Government, Forum’s president Narain Kataria said.

“Baba Ramdev’s allegation that there was a sinister conspiracy to kill him has to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” he said, adding the reign of repression let lose against thousands of peaceful men, women and children by 5,000 Delhi policemen should be vehemently condemned with the contempt it deserves.

It is a naked fascism as practiced by dictators in Middle Eastern countries, Kataria alleged.

“The Indians are determined to take back Government of India from their corrupt rulers. Make no mistake; they are waking up silently, slowly but surely. They are not going to stop till the goal is reached,” the Forum said.


June 6, 2011

BJP to meet President on Ramdev, demand special Parliament session

Bharatiya Janta PartyNew Delhi: BJP on Monday said it will hold peaceful protests across the country against the crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s agitation and meet President Pratibha Patil to demand convening of a special session of Parliament to discuss the issue.

The party, whose top leaders including BJP president Nitin Gadkari are holding a satyagraha at Rajghat, accused the government of “shielding and protecting” the corrupt.

“We would seek the intervention of the President. We would meet her this evening. LK Advani had yesterday said that the BJP will demand a special session of Parliament to discuss the issue,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.

Advani, Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley were among a host of leaders who were at the satyagraha site.

Prasad said the Congress should remember that the BJP had fought against the “godmother of India” Indira Gandhi and succeeded.

“One thing that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister should remember is that the BJP fought against Indira Gandhi and emerged victorious.

“People of this country had taught a lesson. They will also teach these people a lesson. The whole country is angry and in an agitating mode. The government has lost all its moral authority and is cracking down on peaceful protests like the one led by Baba Ramdev while giving permission for anti-India rallies and speeches like the one by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The BJP had yesterday launched an agitation against the crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters and asked the government to bring back black money parked abroad.


June 5, 2011

Defiant Baba Ramdev vows to return to Delhi, continue campaign


New Delhi/Dehradun:  Baba Ramdev was back in his saffron attire, hours after he was evicted from the Ramlila Ground in Delhi during a late night crackdown by the government. But unlike during the day when he turned emotional while addressing the media, a determined Ramdev this time minced no words, declaring that his fast against corruption will continue.

“We will return to Delhi with the same agenda, with the same zeal and vigour. First thing is that today evening, we will tell you the location, either in Delhi or near Delhi. We will assemble…We will rally all over the nation, hold fast and dharnas; we will go to each house and tell people about government’s action,” he said while addressing a press conference at his ashram in Haridwar.

Launching a scathing attack on the government for the police action at his camp, Ramdev said, “The government has been ruthless towards women, children, we still don’t know who has been thrown where? The government tried to suppress peaceful protests. One of our workers, Rajbala, is very serious; she will probably not make it. We have got a list of over a 100 people who are injured, like Ajay Arya whose both legs are broken; he can’t even be operated upon. There are thousands like them who did nothing wrong. This is a huge blemish on the government.”

“When did we say that we want a change in system? We spoke about Lokpal and corruption. You don’t accept our demands it’s fine, but this is not the way to act – by beating women and children”, Ramdev added.

Earlier in the day, dressed in white, a woman’s salwar-kameez, he recounted events leading up to his eviction from Delhi. The yoga icon broke down several times as he told his story, but was clear that his hunger strike against black money and corruption is still on.

There were scenes of violence at the Ramlila Ground during the police crackdown last night, and the Baba spent the night in the protection of the Delhi Police and was flown out from the Palam airport this morning. He has been served an externment order and cannot enter Delhi, though he is free to travel anywhere else in the country.

Baba Ramdev described last night’s police action at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan as the “darkest night of my life.” He said the police had used a lathicharge, tear gas shells and dragged and beaten up his supporters, adding that he had not seen such atrocities before. “The police force 5000-10,000 in number, did not even spare the smallest children. Women and children were dragged and beaten up.” The Ramlila Maidan had served all Saturday as a sort of capital city for the yoga icon and his mass movement against the government. Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed there after the police action to prevent people from gathering.

Baba Ramdev described, voice cracking, how he wept and told “cops to stop misbehaving with women supporters”, but to no avail. Baba Ramdev, who initially escaped the police dressed as a woman, said he was not dressed in a white salwar-kurta because he wanted to and described how he spent hours hidden among women, face covered with a dupatta.

The government, he said, had betrayed him. “They said they would declare black money as national assets, find out where it was stashed and would bring it back.” Top ministers negotiating with him on behalf of the government he said, had asked him to abandon his fast first saying he would get a written assurance that his demands would be met. But when that letter came, he said, it made no mention of his primary demand.

He singled out senior minister Kapil Sibal as “the most scheming man ever” and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, when he said, “Last night’s brutality means Mrs Gandhi doesn’t love this nation or its people. How can she be so cruel?”

The government has justified the late night eviction of the Baba saying he had violated permission granted for a yoga gathering. Kapil Sibal said Baba Ramdev had been given permission for a yoga camp for 5000 people but when over 50,000 people descended on the capital’s Ramlila ground, the government “couldn’t allow law and order to be disrupted.”

Baba Ramdev’s stage, Mr Sibal said, had become one for “political asanas” and “not yoga asanas.”

The Delhi Police said on Sunday that no one was lathicharged at the Ramlila Maidan. Dharmendra Kumar, Special CP (Law and Order) said 39 policemen were injured when people threw stones at them. The police also said Baba Ramdev was removed as much for his own security as to prevent a law and order situation. “We got specific inputs that Ramdev could be targeted”, Mr Kumar said.

But the Opposition and civil society is out in full force to attack the government over the midnight action, saying peaceful protest is a democratic right. Many have likened it to the Emergency imposed by the Congress government of 1975. Leader after top BJP leader has slammed the UPA and demanded an apology from the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi.

BJP patriarch LK Advani exhorted President Pratibha Patil to not be “a passive observer” and convene a special session of Parliament to discuss the Ramdev crisis. He said the crackdown reminded him of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Talking to NDTV, Mr Advani attacked Prime Minister Mammohan Singh saying the government’s mishandling of the Ramdev crisis proved his earlier allegation that Dr Singh was India’s “weakest Prime Minister.”

BJP chief Nitin Gadkari announced a “satyagraha” at Delhi’s Rajghat from 7 pm on Sunday. And Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was responsible for the crackdown and dubbed the police action as “Ravanlila in Ramlila Ground”.

The police action was compared to the Emergency by eminent lawyer Shanti Bushan and others like Swami Agnivesh said that because the Baba’s supporters had been largely peaceful, the police has violated basic democratic rights. “The government should resign,” said Mr Bhushan.

Around 65 people were injured in last night’s clashes at the Ramdev camp. Most were discharged fairly soon from hospitals suggesting they were not seriously injured. However, four people are currently in the Intensive Care Unit at Delhi’s LNJP Hospital.

Activists like Anna Hazare disagree with those reports. “Bahut pittai hua (many were beaten up)” said Mr Hazare, whose own hunger strike in April received mammoth public support and led to the government agreeing to work straight away on a new law to check corruption among politicians and bureaucrats.

On the other side of the political argument, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh used strong words calling Baba Ramdev “a thug who is misleading the nation…We can’t allow someone like Ramdev to run riot in Delhi. He had permission only to run a yoga camp. He was trying to incite people.” Mr Singh has spoken frequently this week against the Baba and his attempts to force the government to launch a mission to recover crores of black money from foreign bank accounts.

Late-night drama at Ramlila Grounds

At 1 am, close to 600 policemen arrived at Ramlila Maidan to demand that the crowd of 60,000 supporters disperse. Their argument was that the gathering had been granted permission only for a yoga camp and not as a mass demonstration. (Watch: Thousands gather at Ramlila Maidan)

A group of policemen trooped onto the stage, reportedly after some people threw stones at them. The Baba asked them to go away. He then leapt from his stage, his saffron robes fanning out behind him, into the crowd of supporters. Seated on a follower’s shoulders, the Baba then delivered a lengthy speech, waving his fist in the air. Finally, the police managed to get to him. (Watch: Eyewitness account) | (Read: Ramdev wants peaceful agitation against police action)

At 2 am, teargas shells were launched upon the thousands of people who were present, allegedly in an attempt to force the crowds to leave the grounds. A small fire broke out on the stage that had been used by the Baba but fortunately, it did not spread.

At 5.30 am, the Baba was evicted from Delhi and moved to his ashram in Haridwar.

Government sources say that the Baba was detained for just a few minutes.

The Baba and the government had hit the collision course at around 9 pm with both sides accusing each other of betrayal. Baba Ramdev said the government had falsely assured him that it would meet his charter of demands that include recovering black money held abroad by Indians and declaring it a national asset. The government in turn said that the Baba had in writing promised even before he began his fast that it would end early last evening. The implication was that unknown to his supporters, the government and the yoga icon had struck a secret deal. Stung, the Baba accused the government of lying and said the gloves were coming off.

Another letter from the government was then sent to him assuring him that the government was serious about following up on his demands. The letter appealed again for the Baba to end his hunger strike.

Baba Ramdev has been the government’s top priority this week – top ministers spent hours meeting with him to persuade him that his “satyagraha against corruption” should not be launched because the government was willing to work with him to address his concerns.

Several rounds of talks-including those on Friday- were followed by reports that a compromise had been reached. But late on Friday evening, after meeting with senior ministers Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay at the Claridges Hotel in Delhi, the Baba returned to Ramlila Maidan and told a crowd of thousands that his fast would begin as planned on Saturday. He said his movement would be non- violent and that he would fast “till the end.” (Watch: Ramdev’s ‘5-star satyagraha’ has RSS support, says Digvijaya Singh)