Govt slams Ramdev for saying he’ll build an army

Supporters watch as Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev who is on a hunger strike, sit at his ashram, near Haridwar, June 8. Ramdev and a Gandhian social activist staged twin hunger strikes Wednesday to demand the government take immediate steps to fight an entrenched culture of corruption that has plagued India for decades. (AP Photo)
New Delhi, june 8 (Agencies):  Baba Ramdev’s remark that he will raise an army of 11,000 men and women who will be trained to attack if action is taken against them has been declared “anti-national” by the government.  “I will bring Ramdev’s statement to the notice of Home Minister. It is anti-national and we have to take action,” warned V Narayanswamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.  This morning, the yoga teacher said, “They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They will be given arms training. Next time at Ramlila it will be Ravanlila,” he declared.
The government has been caught in a face-off with the yoga icon since the weekend, when it ordered the police to dismantle a massive camp that the Baba had organized - it combined yoga with a sit-in against corruption. On Saturday, the Baba launched an indefinite hunger strike against corruption. Hours later, the police moved in and arrested the Baba. The 65,000 people gathered at Ramlila Maidan were teargassed and lathi-charged. The incident brought together activists and opposition parties who condemned the government for breaking up a peaceful demonstration.
Baba Ramdev is still on a hunger strike.  He has been supported by activist Anna Hazare who also conducted a one-day fast today at Rajghat in the capital. Mr Hazare- the face of  a campaign named India Against Corruption - declared that the movement is a “second freedom movement.”  He also said “A fast is not a crime...This is equal to what happened at Jallianwala Bagh. The only difference is that bullets were not fired.”
Govt says Anna’s call for second freedom struggle is unacceptable
The government bristled at Mr Hazare’s remarks. “Anna has called for a second freedom movement...a second freedom movement against whom?” asked Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan. “What he has said today is unacceptable.  This is a lawfully-elected government...a Parliament elected by the people of India.  To launch a parallel movement by people who proclaim they will not stand for election is a complete subversion.”
The government’s stringent new attitude towards Mr Hazare and other activists is a marked departure from its approach over recent months.  Since Mr Hazare went on a nearly week-long hunger strike in April, the government has tried to appease his team, mainly because of the national goodwill and support that Mr Hazare evoked. Mr Hazare demanded -and won - the right to have five activists including himself draft a new bill against corruption with the government.  The Lokpal Bill Drafting Committee pairs five ministers with these non-elected representatives.  Consensus on key issues remains evasive - the activists want the Bill to apply to the Prime Minister’s office; they also want all meetings of the committee to be recorded for public disclosure.  The government has rejected both those features.
After the action against Baba Ramdev, the government has taken the offensive against activists.  On more than one occasion now, Mr Hazare’s language has been described as “unacceptable.” Yesterday, senior minister Kapil Sibal warned that the Lokpal Bill will be drafted entirely by the government if Team Hazare doesn’t attend meetings.   The Congress today also said that the Ramdev movement was drafted and backed by the BJP’s parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).  Ms Natarajan attacked BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for visiting Baba Ramdev in Haridwar today.  The Congress asked if the BJP plans to support a man who is expressing anti-national sentiments. When asked about the Baba’s call to arms, Mrs Swaraj had avoided comment.