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Ramdev getting RSS support: Chidambaram

Vinay Kumar

— PHOTO: PTI

P. Chidambaram addresses the media

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on yoga guru Baba Ramdev, accusing him of getting the full support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its front organisations in going ahead with his anti-corruption campaign.

Mr. Chidambaram said Ramdev's Bharat Swabhiman Trust had the support of the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (of the RSS) as well as that of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Minister cautioned Ramdev against raising an armed wing, saying the law would firmly deal with it.

Giving details of the support extended by RSS front organisations to Ramdev's campaign, Mr. Chidambaram said the government had taken note of the resolution passed by the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha on March 10-13, 2011 at Puttur in Karnataka. The RSS had formed an “Anti-Corruption Front” with Ramdev as its patron and K.N. Govindacharya as its convener; and the ABVP decided on May 12 to float “Youth Against Corruption” and to coordinate with Ramdev.

RSS circular

In support of his argument, the Home Minister referred to the May 20 circular of Suresh Joshi of the RSS to swayamsevaks to render all possible cooperation to Ramdev's campaign. Similar instructions were issued on May 28 by Ashok Singhal of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to all office-bearers of the outfit.

It was for the first time Mr. Chidambaram made a statement at a press conference on the events since June 1 concerning the protest organised by Ramdev.

Asked about Ramdev's announcement that he would form an 11,000-strong force to deal with police and anti-social elements attempting to disrupt his movement, Mr. Chidambaram said this showed his “true colours and true intention.” He added: “Let him do that and the law will deal with it.”

The Minister refused to reply to queries on allegations against Ramdev and his close aide Balkrishna, saying: “there will be another opportunity to answer these questions in future.”

He said government representatives engaged Ramdev in talks between June 1 and 4 and on late evening of June 4, it became clear that the yoga guru had gone back on his assurances and was determined to persist with his fast-unto-death programme.

“A decision was taken that Baba Ramdev would not be allowed to organise any protest or undertake any fast-unto-death at the Ramlila grounds and that if he persisted in his efforts to do so he would be directed to remove himself from Delhi,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Defending the police action, he said the Delhi Police decided to enforce the decision to remove Ramdev from the Ramlila grounds. When the order was served on him, he was obliged to obey the order. “On the contrary, he defied the order. What happened thereafter and how he defied the order have been captured on camera and is known to everybody.”

Ramlila episode

Mr. Chidambaram said the Delhi Police had received a notice from the Supreme Court and they would explain the events and the action taken in their affidavit. According to the police, there were over 20,000 persons at the Ramlila grounds on the night of June 4-5 when the police action took place.

He said 43 civilians were injured in the police action, of which 39 were discharged after first aid, two were treated for fractures and discharged. Two persons received serious injuries and both were operated upon. One of them, Sunil Kumar, was stable and recovering. The other, Ms. Rajbala, was still under treatment for spinal injuries and continued to be critical. “My heart goes out to her and to her family. The government has been in touch with her family and has promised the best medical treatment and assistance in every other way.”

Acknowledging that individuals and organisations had the right to protest peacefully in a democracy, the Minister said the police would give permission for peaceful protest after taking into account the overall law and order and security situation.

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