New Delhi: After Baba Ramdev declared today that he would raise an army trained to retaliate if attacked by the government again, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram slammed the yoga icon, saying his "true colours had been exposed".
Addressing a press conference, Mr Chidambaram said, "I've seen Ramdev's statement. By making that statement, he has exposed his true colours and intentions. Let him do so and the law will deal with it."
The minister's comments came after Mr Ramdev hit a belligerent note earlier in the day, warning the government that the 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."
The yoga icon is currently on a fast at his Patanjali ashram in Haridwar after the police evicted him along with his supporters from the Ramlila Maidan in the national capital where he had embarked upon an indefinite hunger strike - a campaign that he called a "satyagraha against corruption". He was later flown to Haridwar and has also barred from entering Delhi for fifteen days.
Mr Chidambaram said that the police would take a call if Mr Ramdev would be allowed to enter Delhi.
He further accused the yoga guru of going back on his word on calling off his fast, a situation that compelled the government to initiate action against him and his supporters at the venue of his fast.
"The government sincerely engaged with Baba Ramdev...perhaps he did not have any intention of meeting the promises", Mr Chidambaram said.
Claiming that Mr Ramdev had only been given permission for a yoga camp, Mr Chidambaram said that a crowd of nearly 65,000 people gathered backed by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the youth wing of the BJP, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The government has been caught in a face-off with the yoga icon since the weekend, when it ordered the police to dismantle a massive camp that the Baba had organized - it combined yoga with a sit-in against corruption. On Saturday, the Baba launched an indefinite hunger strike. Hours later, the police moved in and arrested the Baba. The 65,000 people gathered at Ramlila Maidan were teargassed and lathi-charged.