Yoga guru Baba Ramdev was carried out of his ashram in Haridwar on a stretcher this afternoon after doctors attending to him said his liver had been affected and his blood pressure was worryingly low because of his seven-day hunger strike.
He was given glucose in an ambulance en route to a Dehradun hospital. After a few hours, doctors said he appeared stronger. Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar who visited him in hospital said he had urged Baba Ramdev to start eating solids tomorrow.
Sri Sri also confirmed that he is mediating between the government and Baba Ramdev, who have been at war since Saturday night, when the Baba was evicted from his camp in Delhi where he combined yoga classes with a sit-in protest and the launch of his hunger strike against corruption and black money. In Delhi, activist Swami Agnivesh also met with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the Ramdev crisis, suggesting that the government may want to start a new round of discussions with the yoga teacher.
"His blood pressure is 104/70 which is low and pulse rate is 58 per minute which is also low. If his pulse rate and BP continue to go down, it may put some pressure on his heart," Chief Medical Officer Yogesh Chandra Sharma said after examining the Baba at his ashram.
The yoga icon whose followers run into lakhs started his fast last Saturday morning in Delhi at the Ramlila Maidan. 65,000 people were in attendance on Saturday night when the police broke up the camp with teargassing and a lathicharge. The Baba was evicted and flown back to Uttarakhand.
The action at Ramlila Maidan ended days of negotiation between the government and the Baba over his suggestions for how to tackle the problem of crores of untaxed money that have been shipped abroad. The late-night violence united Opposition parties who accused the government of violating citizens' right to peacefully protest. Civil activists who have declared Gandhian Anna Hazare their leader pounded the government too, with public criticism and a one-day fast at Rajghat on Wednesday.
The government has disclosed that various tax inquiries are being conducted against the Baba's business empire whose reported turnover is more than a thousand crores. Yesterday, the Baba retaliated by declaring online the balance sheets of the four trusts that he runs for charitable purposes. However, he did not share the financial records of the 34 companies that are linked to him and are run by his close aide, Acharya Balakrishna.
The Baba has also been forced to defend a controversial remark he made earlier this week - that he would recruit 11,000 young men and women who would reciprocate if attacked. Yesterday, he said his remark had been distorted and misreported. "The words should be used in the right context... I said I will make a force who will not beat anyone but they will not get beaten either," the yoga teacher said, adding, "what is the harm or wrong if I speak about shaurya (valour)"
The Baba's remark - seen as incendiary by his critics - had also provoked criticism from other social activists and a warning of legal action from the government.