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Posted on 05 June 2011
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
CORRUPTION

‘They said they cannot do anything’

Ramdev heavily criticised the Congress for the police attack on his supporters

Baba Ramdev
Haridwar

File photo

Baba Ramdev explains what went wrong with his anti-corruption movement, and what lies ahead after the pow-wow with the Union government on how to deal with black money.

The events of last night can be termed as the darkest days of my life. The atrocities committed against the common people at the Ramlila Maidan yesterday sent chills down my spine. I had only heard of police committing atrocities on people, but last night’s incident at the Ramlila Maidan where the police clamped down at over one lakh people has crossed all levels of barbarism. Yesterday night at the ground I kept pleading to the police not to attack the women at the site. There were only five women personnel at the ground and the regular police force was between five and ten thou­sand. More than one lakh families with their children were present on the ground and the police attacked the children also. Children and women were dragged and beaten up by the police and the memory makes my conscience shiver with fear. I wish to draw attention to the conspiracy being hatched against me. The government held talks with us and assured that they will fulfill whatever we demand. We were told that the government would de­clare black money as national income and an ordinance would be brought out on this. The government also said that they would physically investi­gate where the black money has been hidden. The government also assured us they would find out who visited tax havens and they would contact the immigration departments in this regard. The government said they would investigate which corrupt politician, government officer and businessman visited the tax havens repeatedly. The government would also have an in­ternational gateway to find out who are managing their tax accounts in foreign countries.

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On the evening of 4 June, we said we won’t give up our fast until the government agrees to declare black money stashed abroad as national income. We wanted criminal charges to be pressed against people who have deposited their money in foreign accounts. The government was pressurising us to give up our fast and they assured us our demands would be met. The government called us on the evening of 3 June and asked us to come to the finance ministry for a meeting. I asked them to come to the Ram­lila Maidan. The ministers told us that previously four ministers had come to meet me at the airport and I had insulted them. There were differences on the place of meeting and so finally we agreed to meet in a hotel. Pro­paganda is being spread that Acharya Balkrishna, who is my associate, had announced that the fast would end on 6 June. If the period of the fast was fixed, then why was teargas fired on people? We did not allow this attack to occur on June 3 because we acted in a wise manner. Last night, if we had not stopped our workers then the government would have killed thousands of people. This kind of suppression has not been seen anywhere else in the world. The government is trying to betray us. We were called inside a hotel and Balkrishna was pressurised into accepting the government’s demands. We talked to the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi on this matter. The finance minister asserted that we have to give him a letter stating we would end our fast after three days.

The meeting lasted five hours and at the end we were told either we should be ready to face the consequences or we should accept the government’s demand of ending the fast in three days. The govern­ment said they would accept all our demands within three days and we should then end our fast. I had prior information that I would be arrested and would be shot in an encounter or I would be sent to disappear some­where. On the evening of June 3, when were meeting at the hotel, heavy police force was deployed there. The government had planned to attack me and lathicharge the supporters who had assembled at the ground. Every single person who entered the ground was frisked and not a single person was carrying a weapon. The government wanted that we should declare on 3 June that our demands have been met and we will not go ahead with our fast. The government does not want to see crores of people unite for this fast; never before in the history of world such anger has poured out against corruption. I wish to clarify that the government forced us to write that we would end our fast by 6 June because they have accepted our demands. The next day, when we had a discussion with the government, they informed us that our demands cannot be met. They said an ordinance stating that black money is national income can’t be brought out. The government also stated they can’t physically investigate the money stashed abroad. Our protest was against black money and the government went back on all its promises related to black money.

On 4 June, Kapil Sibal, union human resource de­velopment minister, said the government would agree to all our demands and then after that Sibal resorted to statecraft. I was told later that around 10:30 pm a letter was given to Balkrishna ji that stated what the government planned to do. But they had left out the issue of black money. When I re­alised that the situation is grave and teargas was being fired, I took support from a wall and I sat there for two hours. People asked me if I didn’t fear for my life. I told them I wouldn’t have gone ahead with my fast if I feared for my life. Dying at the site was not an act of bravery. The central government is being run by remote control. I used to think that she is not born here but she is a bahu of the country. The atrocities committed on one lakh people prove that Shrimati [Sonia] Gandhi does not love the women, children and daughters of this country. It seems that people who cheat and kill other people think every other person is like what they are. I was leaving the place after two hours when police the caught me by my neck and dragged me.

Although Hegde will boycott the meeting, he said the panel should continue negotiating with the government for the people.

From Ramdev’s first address after being forced out of the Ramlila Maidan

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Posted on 05 June 2011
 

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