Baba Ramdev to be force fed?

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Haridwar:  Baba Ramdev is being cajoled to break his fast in Haridwar. He has been on a hunger strike for five days as part of his satyagraha against corruption. Local police and administration officials visited him this afternoon to persuade him to end his fast. 

Doctors who conducted his check-up this morning said they are worried about his health.
"If his condition worsens, he may have to be force fed, " said Haridwar District Magistrate R Meenakshi Sundaram to reporters.  He also suggested that the yoga teacher has agreed to sip water with lime and honey. 

Yesterday, Sushma Swaraj who met the Baba at his ashram said he has lost close to 7 kilograms since his hunger strike began and appears weak. "However, he is mentally and spiritually strong," she had stressed.

Indeed, the Baba seemed to have lost none of his fighting spirit this morning as he  defended his controversial statement on creating an army of young people that would be trained to strike back if they are attacked. The Baba's remark, delivered last morning, provoked criticism from other social activists and a warning of legal action from the government.

"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)?" (Read: Baba Ramdev clarifies arms call)

Now being accused of financial malpractices in his 1000-crore empire, the Baba's team has said it will  "put up financial details of Patanjali Yogpeeth and all other companies on our website." The yoga teacher said  he had stolen people's hearts, not money.

The Baba's call to arms came after his yoga camp plus sit-in was dismantled by the police, some say with brutal force, on Saturday night.  65,000 supporters were teargassed and lathicharged.   Four people were seriously injured; one is likely to be paralyzed for life. The government action was described by the Opposition as a "murder of democracy."  Activists led by Gandhian Anna Hazare hedla  fast in Rajghat yesterday to protest against what happened at Baba Ramdev's camp, and to pressure the government to bend to their version of a new law against corruption. (Read: Anna's ultimatum to government)

In April, a hunger fast by Mr Hazare transformed into a nationwide intervention against corruption in the government.  A shower of scandals had exposed blatant misuse of public office by a few ministers and MPs.  Corporate India and politicians seemed to be exploiting a mutually-beneficial relationship.  Mr Hazare, circled by lakhs of protestors, won the day.  The government agreed to immediately draft the long-delayed Lokpal Bill against corruption.  Mr Hazare and four other activists were  allowed to join five ministers in drafting that bill.

Mr Ramdev's camp over the weekend was meant to be a sister concern of Mr Hazare's movement, which is labeled India Against Corruption.  Worried that Baba Ramdev, known for his lakhs of followers, would cause the government the same sort of Public Relations nightmare as Mr Hazare's earlier fast, the government was over-eager to negotiate with him.  Four ministers were sent to the airport to receive him -an honour that many pointed out is not accorded to visiting heads of state.  Several rounds of negotiations followed.  Then on Saturday evening, the delicate peace was shattered.

The government claims that  the yoga teacher reneged on a deal that had been struck the evening before his fast began.  In exchange for the government agreeing to some of his suggestions on how to check black money,  Baba Ramdev had committed to ending his fast early on Saturday evening.  When he refused to publicly end his hunger strike, the government moved in.


Ramdev Defends His Call to Arms


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