Yoga Teacher Ramdev Says He Will Visit CAA Protesters At Delhi's Shaheen Bagh Today

Citizenship Act Protests: Ramdev's proposed visit will come two days after Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad delivered a dramatic speech at the protest site

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev spoke to NDTV today

New Delhi:

Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday said he will visit Delhi's Shaheen Bagh - where hundreds have braved a cold winter to take part in a weeks-long protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, seen as discriminating against Muslims - on Saturday. Speaking to NDTV, Ramdev, who declared he did not want conflict between Hindus and Muslims, also said he was going to Shaheen Bagh "just to listen" and his visit would be a gesture of support to the Muslim community "if there is injustice against (them)".

The comments came shortly after he acknowledged people's right to protest but said the subject of protests must be constitutional and that "it appears there is anarchy in India".

"I am not for anybody or against anybody... nor am I a middleman. I don't want Hindus and Muslims to fight. If there is injustice against Muslims, I will stand with them. I will go to Shaheen Bagh tomorrow (Saturday)," Ramdev said on Friday.

"I am a supporter of protests... of any type of azadi (freedom)... but this must be constitutional, it must not hurt others. (I) don't want Jinnah-wali azadi, I want Bhagat Singh-wali azadi," he added.

Ramdev sought to play down fears the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), would force Muslims to leave, declaring, "We are all Indians " and that "it is a myth that people will be thrown out".

When questioned about the fears of minority communities, particularly Muslims, that they may not have documents to prove that past generations of their family were born in the country, Ramdev said he was born in a small village and may not have the required documents.

"I Was born in a village... generations of my family don't have birth certificates. Who used to make them at that time?" he asked.

Ramdev's proposed visit will come two days after another saffron-clad leader, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, took a gendered swipe at the women-led agitations in Shaheen Bagh.

On the same day Yogi Adityanath made his comments in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad delivered a dramatic speech at the protest site. In a powerful warning to the government, Mr Azad said the centre would have to "go over our corpses" to implement the law.

"Ambedkar said women will lead. Today, when the Constitution is in danger, women are leading the country and fighting for it," Mr Azad said in his speech, which came a day after the courts modified his bail order to allow him to return - he had earlier been barred from entering for four weeks.


Hundreds of women have braved Delhi winter to protest the citizenship law at Shaheen Bagh

The Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, at the heart of nationwide protests, including those at Shaheen Bagh and others inspired by it - such as the one at the clock tower in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow - makes religion, for the first time, the test of Indian citizenship.

The government says the law will help non-Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution from Muslim-dominated countries. Critics say it discriminates against Muslims and violates secular tenets of the Constitution.

They also fear the CAA, used with a nationwide NRC (national register of citizens) repeatedly promised by Home Minister Amit Shah, could further target minority communities.

Protests against the CAA have included brutal crackdowns by police forces in various states, with at least 21 being killed during agitations in Uttar Pradesh alone.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court heard a whopping 140 anti-CAA petitions, but refused to announce a stay on the law until it had the government's response.