Ramdev threatens armed rebellion, Govt warns him

Haridwar/New Delhi: Threatening an armed rebellion, yoga guru Ramdev on Wednesday said he will raise a 11,000 force that will be trained to retaliate if authorities crackdown on their anti-corruption campaign, evoking a stern response from the Government which termed it "anti-national".

In Haridwar, Ramdev, who had struck a conciliatory tone on Tuesday, said he will form a force of 11,000 men and women to deal with police and anti-social elements attempting to disrupt his anti-corruption movement.

"I appeal that 20 young men from every district should come here. We will train them in both shahstra (vedas) and shastra (weapons)," Ramdev, who is continuing his hunger strike, told his followers here.

The yoga guru said, "We will prepare 11,000 men and women so that next time we do not lose any battle at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi".

Both the Government and the Congress reacted sharply to Ramdev`s move.

Home Minister P Chidambaram when asked about Ramdev`s call, said, "by making that statement, he has exposed his true colours and true intentions. Let him do so and the law will deal with that..You have to observe some discipline".

"It is anti-national and we have to take action," said V Narayanswamy, Minister of State in the Prime Minister`s Office.

Congress said Ramdev`s call for an armed rebellion is a serious issue and hoped that the government will take appropriate action to uphold the Constitution and maintain law and order.

"It is against the Constitution and against the lawfully-elected government", Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said.

"We would like to know is it a plan to start an armed rebellion against the Centre?" she asked.

Taking exception to senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj meeting Ramdev in Haridwar today, Natarajan asked whether BJP was also a party to the plan to start an "armed struggle".

"Is it correct for the Leader of Opposition to meet Ramdev in Hardiwar when he has called for a war against the government? It is for the BJP to answer whether they are supporting (the plan) and what was the LoP doing there," she said.

On whether Ramdev`s statement amounted to sedition and if he should be put behind bars, Natarajan said whatever the yoga guru has said was "completely against rule of law and the Constitution."

"His remarks were unconstitutional and illegal.

Whatever action is taken, it is for the Government to decide and it should taken appropriate action," she said.

Government`s initial move to placate Ramdev when four senior ministers including Pranab Mukherjee went to the Delhi airport on June 1 to persuade him to call off his fast-unto- death boomeranged when he went ahead.

Responding to questions at a press conference, Chidambaram said action against Ramdev followed after he defied the orders.

According to Delhi police, "minimum force" was used at the Ramlila Maidan, he said. The police has got a notice from the Supreme Court and it will explain its stand, he said.

The Home Minister said Ramlila Maidan was located in a sensitive area. "A small spark can trigger a conflagration," he noted.

Rejecting the charge that Government was deliberately preventing peaceful protests against corruption, Chidambaram said permission had been given to the BJP for its agitation in Rajghat on June 5 and 6 and Anna Hazare too had been allowed today.

Swaraj after meeting Ramdev in Haridwar, told reporters, "the UPA government has lost its balance. There are no checks and balances. The Centre has sent four ministers for dialogue with Ramdev but to beat innocent people they sent 5,000 policemen".

"We have told them about our demands. Earlier they did not ratify United Nations Convention to fight corruption. It was only when we told them, they did it. It is all a baby step," she said.

The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha extended her party`s support to Ramdev`s fast, which entered fifth day today, on the issue of blackmoney and corruption.

"I have come here to meet him. He has lost some 4-4.5 kg weight but his will has become stronger," she said

Ramdev had yesterday stuck a conciliatory tone, saying he "forgave" the Prime Minister for the crackdown on his agitation as he has "accepted his sin".

The yoga guru is observing a fast from June 4 to press for his demands of bringing back black money from foreign nations, tougher anti-graft laws and to uproot corruption from the country.