Manmohan justifies Ramlila crackdown

New Delhi: In his first comments on the police action at Baba Ramdev’s protest congregation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday termed it as “unfortunate” but justified it saying there was “no alternative”.

He asserted that his government was “concerned” and “serious” about fighting corruption but maintained that there was “no magic wand” to do so.

“It is unfortunate that operation had to be conducted but quite honestly, there was no alternative,” Dr. Singh told reporters in New Delhi when asked to comment on the much-criticised midnight police action to disrupt Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption protest at Ramlila Maidan.

On the issue of corruption being flagged by civil society activists and parties, the Prime Minister said, “the government is serious and we are concerned about corruption and black money. There is no doubt. But there is no magic wand.”

With regard to demands that the Prime Minister should be brought under the purview of Lokpal, Dr. Singh refused to comment saying the issue was before the joint drafting committee comprising ministers and members from civil society.

Dr. Singh, who was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised by Hindi daily Rajasthan Patrika, was asked about his assessment of his two years in office. “It is for you people to judge,” he said.