Ramdev threat: Will build an army, arm protesters

Ramdev threat: Will build an army, arm protesters

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Haridwar:  He sounded conciliatory yesterday, but Baba Ramdev is still fuming about the police action at his Delhi camp late on Saturday night. The aggressive baba was back on Wednesday morning, warning the government that next time protesters would be armed and ready to retaliate.

The yoga teacher said, "Next time at Ramlila, it will be Ravanlila. Let's see who gets beaten up."

Baba Ramdev detailed the arms training plan: "Twenty youth from each region will come forward for the fight against corruption. These young people should be 35-40 years old. Not only men, young women must also join them. They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. They will be given arms training. We will build an army of 11,000 men and women."

After his eviction from Delhi and his return to the ashram in Haridwar, Baba Ramdev had announced that he was resuming his indefinite hunger-strike against black money and corruption. He has been constantly making statements about his plans to take his crusade forward from his headquarters and on Tuesday, he struck a more benign note when he said he "forgave" the Prime Minister and his government at a personal level.

"I forgive the PM and government for atrocities and wrongs done to me...but for destroying democracy, the nation will have to decide," he said. And with the latter political statement, he also added that he was once again "open to talking to the government, if they approach us."

On Saturday, Baba Ramdev had begun a hunger-strike at the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi. The Delhi Police, stating that he had permission only to hold a yoga camp with 5000 in attendance and not a protest with over 50,000 people, had dismantled the camp, where 65,000 people had gathered before they were lathicharged and tear gassed.  

The Baba himself was evicted and then flown back to his headquarters in Haridwar on the government's orders.

In Delhi on Monday, the Supreme Court asked the government to explain its action - at a characteristically lengthy speech in Uttarakhand, the Baba said he was grateful for the court's intervention.

He also said that he rejected the Delhi Police's version of events. "The Delhi Police is lying. They beat up people. They said that people were injured in a stampede. None of our workers provoked violence." He also said "the Mahatma would be crying" about the government's treatment of the women and children who he claims were attacked on Saturday night.

The government has banned the Baba from entering Delhi for the next 15 days. While the yoga teacher is accustomed to whipping up crowds that run into thousands, he now faces the unique problem of where to set up a new base camp for his "satyagraha against corruption."  He was hoping to bring his movement to Noida in Uttar Pradesh, but Chief Minister Mayawati has rejected that proposal on the grounds that it could lead to a law and order problem.

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