June 2011. Week 1
Government action is an act of tyranny - Baba Ramdev
What happened during the midnight between 4th and 5th June 2011 at Delhi's
Ramleela Maidan turned out to the biggest breaking news on TV channels on 5th
morning. People were shocked to find the Police action on the thousands of
satygrahis who had gathered at Ramleela Maidan to observe an indefinite hunger
strike in the company of Yoga Guru- Baba Ramdev, who is demanding stringent
punishment for Black money holders who have stacked their unaccounted money in
Foreign banks. For the past few months Baba has been asking the Government to
bring back the black money back to India and seeking a strict law to put the
offenders not only behind the bars but also suggested Death sentence for them.
The horrifying act of Police on the satyagrahis only reminded us of the Pre
independence struggle during British rule. It was surprising to see this kind of
Government action as just a day before the protest by Satyagrahis began, at
least three Ministers of the Government were trying their best to avoid such
mass protest, as they even went to the airport to persuade Baba on his arrival
in Delhi. All that we witnessed on Television was an act of show business on the
part of the Government to show how much concerned they were about taking action
against tax evaders and meeting the demands of the social activists supporting
the protest of Baba Ramdev. There was a debate as to whether Baba had held the
protest under the guise of Yoga seminar on the ground, for which permission was
taken earlier. But, the main question that still remains unanswered and that is
why such a drastic step was taken to evict the people, who were fast a sleep
The number of persons injured, most of them women, clearly shows the police
brutality towards the silent protesters who were opposed to corruption. All the
Marathi news channels took a close look at this issue by showing the
developments arising out of this situation. They joined the other national
networks showing live telecast of what transpired after the eviction of
thousands of satyagrahis from Ramleela Maidan. More focus was on Baba Ramdev and
his attempt to escape police arrest. But, he was finally arrested and taken to
Haridwar, where he still continues his protest with hunger strike.
While speaking to the TV channels he blasted the Government authorities for
their undemocratic ways to crush his agitation and called it a conspiracy to
kill him in an encounter. "It was a clear attempt to kill me but my dedicated
volunteers shielded me all the time," he said. He blamed the Government
including the Prime Minister and Congress President for being the mastermind
behind this move.
The next day Government tried to clarify through their spokespersons that their
action was justified, but there were no takers for their explanation as the
sympathy wave had spread worldwide towards the Yoga Guru for the manner in which
the operation was carried out during mid night hours. A New York-based Indian
American body termed it as a dangerous attack on the democratic set up in India.
Even at a press Conference called by ruling party and addressed by their
spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi received a jolt, when a so called journalist -
Sunil Kumar made an attempt to fling his shoe at the spokesperson, but, he was
caught. Star Majha showed the clipping of this happening, which only hints about
the anger the common man possesses against the Government action.
While the BJP leaders like L.K. Advani and Nitin Gadkari came out openly to
condemn the Government action on Baba Ramdev, they also suggested that they were
calling for a special session of Parliament to discuss this most sensitive
issue. Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray besides condemning the act, also
went on to appeal to the people to pull down this government. MNS Chief Raj
Thacekeray also condemned the act of the Government but he also blamed the
opposition, which he called the weakest. "It is because of the weak opposition
at the Centre that social activist like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have to step
in to protest, which is unfortunate," he said.
In the debate held by IBN Lokmat at prime time on 6th evening, they had called
for the audience poll, asking the people whether the action taken by the
Government to crush the agitation of Baba Ramdev, was an attack on democracy;
and 94% of the viewers said that the act of the Government was indeed an attack
on democracy. Wasn't that not enough to blame the Government for such an action
? In addition to that on 6th morning Supreme Court also issued a notice to
Centre asking them to explain the need for such an action within 15 days time.
In the words of common people who expressed their views on television, the
Government action on Baba Ramdev and his followers, was a murder of democracy.
by Ulhas Shirke © MMW