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‘Support to Ramdev selective and conditional'

Bageshree S.

Union Government's action undemocratic and a violation of a citizen's right: Lokayukta


They could have waited till morning: Hegde

‘We support only that part of his demands which is related to corruption'




N. Santosh Hegde

Bangalore: Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde has condemned the “Emergency-like” midnight police crackdown on Baba Ramdev, but underlined that the Anna Hazare camp's support to the yoga guru is selective and conditional.

Asked if the distinction between Mr. Hazare's anti-corruption campaign and that of Baba Ramdev, which has a distinct political colour because of the involvement of people such as right-wing Hindu leader Sadhvi Rithambara, was in the danger of getting blurred, Mr. Hegde said: “We support only that part of his demands which is related to corruption. Mr. Hazare himself never visited the Ramlila Maidan, where the fast was on over the last two days.”

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Hegde, who is a member of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee, said he was not in support of Baba Ramdev's demands that are “unrelated to corruption”, be it discontinuing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination notes or teaching technical courses only in Hindi or regional languages.

The latter demand, he said, was “impractical” and might lead to yet another “Down with Hindi” agitation. “When there are two simultaneous agitations, there are bound to be agreements and disagreements,” he added.

Mr. Hegde, however, said that the manner in which the Government conducted itself on detaining Baba Ramdev was undemocratic and in violation of a citizen's right to protest peacefully without creating a law and order situation. “They could have at least waited till morning,” he said. “They are saying that he did not adhere to the condition of agreement on the use of the Ram Lila grounds. Why did they not see that the very first day?”

Flip-flop

Pointing to the Centre's flip-flop on Baba Ramdev, he said that while the yoga guru was now being called a “crook”, he was earlier treated “as if he is the head of a State”, with Ministers and secretaries rushing to visit him. There were negotiations till late night and there was news of the Government yielding to him, he added.

“There were talks and negotiations till 11 p.m. Nobody knows what happened between 11 p.m. and midnight, and then we heard of the crackdown,” Mr. Hegde said.

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