27 June 2011

Furious Ramdev hits out, talks of murder and rape

Three weeks after he was ousted amid bedlam, yoga guru Baba Ramdev returned to the capital and accused police of having tried to kill him and rape women when they broke up a protest by him and thousands against corruption earlier this month.

Vocally and visibly aggressive, Ramdev denied accusations that he had illegally organised a massive protest at the Ramlila ground here and also challenged the government to unearth black money if he had any.

The government, the saffron-robbed man said, was not keen to wage a war on corruption or bring back black money stashed abroad by Indians.

'At Ramlila Maidan, the police did not come to arrest me, they wanted to kill me,' Ramdev told a news conference here, detailing events that shook the city after the midnight of June 4.

He added that police attacked his supporters when they tried to extinguish the fires that erupted on the stage after tear gas had been fired at the gathering.

'The attempt to set the stage on fire was again an attempt to kill me. They attacked my supporters trying to extinguish the fire.'

And in new allegations sure to spark outrage, Ramdev said security personnel who cracked down on him tried to rape and molest women. He vowed to come out with proof and details later.

There was no immediate reaction to Ramdev's allegation from the government or Delhi Police.

This was the first visit by Ramdev, who heads the Haridwar-based Pantanjali Yog Peeth, to Delhi after June 5 when police ordered him out of the city and told him not to return for two weeks.

Ramdev lashed out at the government's fury over his protest. He argued that if he had done a wrong, then why did four ministers go to the airport to meet him when he arrived in Delhi and why did Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee write to him.

The yoga guru denied he was in possession of illegal wealth. 'If the government finds any black money with me, they can declare it as national property,' he said.

At the same time, he dared the government to come clean on black money.

'If its not their money, then I ask, why are they afraid of declaring it as national property? I have uploaded all the details of our accounts on the website. The government should do the same.'

Ramdev's visit came amid a standoff between the government and civil society over a Lokpal bill that seeks to battle corruption in high places.

He said he was in Delhi on 36th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency rule that saw the government suspend democratic rights. The situation now, he said, 'was very much similar to the Emergency'.

Earlier Saturday, Ramdev visited 51-yar-old Rajbala, a woman who has been hospital since June 5 after suffering serious spinal injuries in the police operation against the yoga guru.

'Rajbala is in very critical condition. Only a miracle can save her if the ventilator is removed,' he said. 'If she lives, she won't be able to walk again.'

He said if he had not urged his supporters to stay calm when police broke up his fast, there would have been bloodshed.

He insisted that he was not communal and he was not aligned to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).

'I am not the face of any party or organisation. I am not communal. I am only the face of billions of Indians.'

After being asked to leave Delhi, Ramdev continued his fast in Haridwar and Dehradun till June 12.