Monday, June 6, 2011

BABA Ramdev News


BABA Ramdev
If Sadhvi Ritambhara's presence at Baba Ramdev's anti-corruption fast threatened to break up civil society coalition, then the government's midnight police action helped paper over the sense of unease. In the aftermath of the police action, the civil society came together to express solidarity with Baba Ramdev and condemned the government. Divergent strands of civil society made it clear that the government's action was unacceptable, was against the Constitution and the basic tenets of democracy.

Setting aside all differences, civil society representatives came together to slam the government. They said that protests are allowed in a democracy, and that the police attack on the mass of sleeping protesters at Ramlila ground at night was highly condemnable. Anna Hazare condemned "the barbaric and unprovoked action of government" and described it as an "assault on democracy".

As an expression of unity, Anna Hazare and other civil society members of the joint Lokpal drafting committee have said that they will boycott Monday's meeting of the committee. Hazare has also said that he would undertake a day's fast in Delhi on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the brutal police action, as well as to put pressure on the government to act against corruption. "We condemn this action. This is a blot on humanity. This is like throttling democracy. We have decided that we will organise a day's fast on June 8. Wherever you may be, you may stage a fast. And pray to god to give wisdom to this government," the octogenarian Gandhian said.

The Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has also condemned the forcible disbandment of Baba Ramdev's protest through police action. In a statement for the MKSS collective, Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey, Lal Singh, Bhanwar Meghwanshi and Aruna Roy said: "The right to peaceful protest, irrespective of ideologies, individuals or issues, is fundamental to a functional democracy. The MKSS holds that plurality of views and their peaceful expression are signs of a healthy vibrant democracy, and must be protected."

Condemning the police action on supporters in the strongest terms, the Lokpal drafting committee co-chairman Shanti Bhushan said that the government's handling of Baba Ramdev's movement showed its desperation. For Bhushan, the police action in the dead of night were an eerie reminder of the Emergency days. The former law minister said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should "resign immediately" and "a caretaker government should be formed".

Anna Hazare and his team have also extended support to Ramdev's demand for an ordinance declaring illegally stashed Indian funds in foreign banks as national assets and for declaring the activity of taking away money through illegal means outside India as a serious crime.

In a statement, the India against Corruption platform, led by Anna Hazare, demanded that the Prime Minister should explain to the nation the reasons which provoked his government to issue orders for police action. "Last night's brutal assault of the government reminds one of 1975 Emergency. It is almost an Emergency-like situation. Today is June 5, the Sampoorn Kranti Diwas. People of this country rose against government injustice 35 years back. Time has come for the people to similarly rise against corruption," the statement read.

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