After yoga guru Baba Ramdev was banned from conducting programmes in Himachal on Monday and booked in Maharashtra and Rajasthan under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act for his honeymoon remarks targeting targeting Rahul Gandhi, the yoga guru said he would move the courts against the curbs.
Terming the ban on his yoga camps as undemocratic, Ramdev alleged the government had pressurised the Election Commission to put the curbs and accused the Congress of distorting his remarks against Rahul, that have been slammed as anti-Dalit, for vote-bank politics.
Chief electoral officer Narinder Chauhan said Ramdev had been refused permission to hold yoga camps in Himachal on the directions of the Election Commission, which instructed the states to ensure that no political activity be allowed through non political programmes like yoga shivirs. “We have passed on the instructions to district administrations for compliance. The request of Patanjali Yoga Peeth of Baba Ramdev to hold yoga shivirs at Kangra, Chamba and Rehan has not been granted,” Chauhan said in Shimla.
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The permission to hold camp in Kangra, which was scheduled for Monday, was withdrawn on Sunday evening by the local subdivisional magistrate. Ramdev, who reached Kangra on Monday, alleged that the government was stopping his yoga shivirs, ‘which are non-political, in an undemocratic manner’. “The government has pressurised the Election Commission to put curbs on yoga shivirs up to May 16 but we would move the court and challenged the orders of the Commission. We got relief in such cases from Gujarat and Karnataka governments and hope to get similar relief in Himachal also,” he said.
On Saturday, First Information Reports were filed against Ramdev in Lucknow and Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh over his remarks. Authorities in Lucknow and Amethi on Sunday banned all his programmes till May 16.
More trouble for Ramdev
Two more FIRs have now been lodged against him in Nagpur and Jaipur under the SC/ST Act. The complaint against him in Nagpur comes after a number of Dalit organisations, including the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee’s Schedule Caste cell and corporator Sandeep Sahare along with Bhimsena, Nationalist Congress Party, Youth Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Triratna Bodi Foundation lodged a protest at the Panchpaoli police station.
An MPCC delegation met Assistant Commissioner of Police Baba Dongre on Sunday to hand over a memorandum demanding that Ramdev be booked under the act following which offences were registered, police said. Protesters blackened Ramdev’s poster outside his local clinic Patanjali. Activists threw slippers at the poster and burnt it, police added.
In Jaipur, a case under sections 153A, 504 of the Indian Penal Code for abusing, hurting sentiments and insulting people and 3(1) of the SC/ST act was registered after Ravi Kirad, a student of RajasthanUniversity, filed an FIR against Ramdev, said a Gandhi Nagar police station officer. The yoga guru’s effigy was also burnt by angry activists at Ambedkar Circle, Jaipur.
Last week, addressing a programme in Lucknow, Ramdev had said, “Rahul goes to Dalits’ houses for honeymoon and picnic”. After massive outrage, Ramdev had expressed regret.
On Monday, he reiterated that his remarks against Rahul Gandhi were distorted and misinterpreted. “I have already apologised but the Congress is raking up the issue as it is using the Dalits as vote bank,” he said, adding, “The term honeymoon period is over is commonly used in political language. I tried to use it in that sense. I had no intention to insult Rahul or the dalit community. I express regret if the use of that term has hurt the feelings of any community, especially the Dalit community.”