This Article is From Jun 12, 2011

Baba Ramdev ends his fast after 9 days

Dehradun: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has finally ended his hunger-strike after nine days. The breakthrough came after a galaxy of religious and political leaders met him at the Himalayan Hospital in Dehradun and convinced him to end his fast.

Doctors said he will be discharged from hospital in two-three days though his condition is "stable".

The man who played a pivotal role in convincing Baba Ramdev is Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar who met him at the hospital for the third time today.

Addressing the mediapersons afterwards, Sri Sri Ravishankar said, "Baba Ramdev has ended his fast and has taken a glass of juice. We thank everyone for the support."

Sri Sri had already met Baba Ramdev twice at the hospital and had vowed to stay in Dehradun till the yoga teacher ends his fast.

Sri Sri had also expressed his willingness to mediate between the yoga guru and the government.

Other spiritual leaders who pitched in were Morari Bapu and Kripalu Maharaj.

Many NDA leaders like Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Haryana Chief Minister and INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala were also present at the hospital to talk Baba Ramdev out of the fast.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who also reached there, said, "I am here as a person who is fighting corruption, and not as a politician. What Baba Ramdev has done for the cause is appreciable. But this government is heartless."

He also said though the fast has ended, "the movement will continue".

As the news spread, there were cheers on the faces of his supporters who chanted victory slogans.

Baba Ramdev's close associate Acharya Balakrishna, who also ended his fast at the hospital, said, "Ramdev has considered the request of hundreds of his followers and people from the saints' fraternity".

Balakrishna, however, said, "He (Ramdev) will take this satyagraha forward till his last breath."

Earlier on Saturday, the Uttarakhand government had urged Baba Ramdev to end his fast.

"We have asked him to break his fast, his well being is very important for India and for the world as he has established India's identity in the world in all spheres. Everyone is looking upto him and it is important for him to recover to fulfill his efforts for our country," Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Trivendra Rawat said on Saturday.

In the midst of the debate on whether Ramdev's agitation was organised by the RSS, the organisation's chief Mohan Bhagwat had issued a statement on Saturday asking Ramdev to give up his hunger strike.

Ramdev was admitted to the Himalayan Hospital in Dehradun on Friday after his condition deteriorated following his fast against corruption. There were also some concerns regarding Baba Ramdev's health as his blood pressure had dropped despite treatment. However, doctors briefed the media on Saturday and said the condition of the yoga guru is improving.

The yoga teacher was carried out of his ashram in Haridwar on a stretcher on Friday afternoon after doctors attending to him said his liver had been affected and his blood pressure was worryingly low because of his hunger strike. Ramdev was given glucose en route to the hospital, but he has refused to end his hunger strike.

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.