New Delhi: There was ruckus at a press conference organised by Baba Ramdev in New Delhi today after a man threw black ink at the yoga guru. The attack reportedly left his left eye blackened.
The attacker has been identified as Kamran Siddiqui, a resident of Delhi who is said to be running an NGO named 'Real Cause'. Following his attempt, the attacker was beaten up by Baba Ramdev's supporters. His aides claim he had gained entry into the hall posing as a security personnel.
Siddiqui has been placed under arrest and a case of criminal assault and promoting enmity among communities lodged against him, police said.
"A case under sections 153 (promoting enmity among communities) and 355 (criminal assault) of Indian Penal Code has been registered against him," a senior police official said. If convicted, he may be imprisonment for upto two years.
At the press conference, the yoga guru was talking to reporters about his plans to campaign against black money holders in the upcoming Assembly elections. The presser was being held at the Constitutional Club in New Delhi, where he was seated along with Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy.
Trying to put up a brave front, the yoga guru said he was not deterred by such attacks and would continue his campaign against corruption with full force, "I spoke about bringing back black money to the country and giving it to the nation. I spoke about eradicating corruption. I spoke about turning a 'loot-tantra' to a real lok-tantra (democracy). And in return, as a prize this is what I have got. I don't mind receiving black ink. I was also shown black flags. I did not care even then. By throwing ink on someone, one cannot malign his character," he said.
Before the incident, Siddiqui had reportedly sought Baba Ramdev's opinion on the 2008 Batla House encounter in which suspects of the Delhi serial blasts were killed. The yoga guru had ignored the question and soon after the attack took place. Siddiqui is a petitioner in the Batla House encounter case.
Baba Ramdev's supporters had reportedly initially blamed the Congress for the attack. Reacting to the incident, Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said he condemned it, but added that to him, it "seems like a conspiracy to create sympathy for Baba Ramdev."
"We are very disappointed at the initial remark. I don't think he seems to have benefited from his yoga teachings at all. How are we concerned? I feel bad that something like that happened to him. In a democracy, it's unfortunate...but it is worse that he blames us because we have no connection with any of this behaviour. If this is what he preaches, then it is very unfortunate," added Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary.
Condemning the incident, the BJP said the attacker must be punished. "The BJP strongly condemns the attack on Baba Ramdev. He is a big social and religious leader and is respected in society. He has been carrying out a drive against black money and corruption in the entire country. Those who oppose him can discuss and criticise but our party strongly condemns such an attack. We want strict action against whoever is responsible," said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare also strongly condemned the attack, and said his support was with the yoga guru. "This is not only an act of throwing ink on Baba Ramdev's face but on the democracy of the country. Such acts will not stop our movements but will enhance it...Baba Ramdev, move ahead, we shall support you," said Anna in a statement.
(With PTI Inputs)