After action by Uttar Pradesh authorities, yoga guru Ramdev was today banned from conducting programmes in Himachal and booked in Maharashtra and Rajasthan under SC/ST Act for his "honeymoon" remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi, but he said he would move court against the curbs.
Terming the ban on his yoga camps as undemocratic, Ramdev alleged the government had pressurised the Election Commission to put the curbs and accused Congress of "distorting" his remarks against Rahul, that have been slammed as "anti- Dalit", for vote-bank politics. Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan said Ramdev has been refused permission to hold yoga camps in Himachal on the directions of Election Commission, which has instructed the states to ensure that no political activity be allowed through non political programmes like yoga shivirs. "We have passed on the instructions to district administrations for compliance. The request of Patanjali Yoga Peeth of Baba Ramdev to hold yoga shivir at Kangra, Chamba and Rehan" has not been granted, Chauhan said in Shimla.
Officials said the Election Commission had taken note of reports that "political activities" were being carried out through non-political outfits to help certain candidates and had issued instruction to all the CEOs on April 18. The permission to hold camp in Kangra, which was scheduled for today, was withdrawn last evening by the local Subdivisional Magistrate. Ramdev, who reached Kangra today, alleged that the government was stopping his yoga shivirs, "which are non-political, in an undemocratic manner".
"The government has pressurised the Election Commission to put curbs on Yoga shivirs upto May 16 but we would move the court and challenged the orders of the Commission. "We got relief in such cases from Gujarat and Karnataka governments and hope to get similar relief in Himachal also," he said. On Saturday, FIRs were filed against Ramdev in Lucknow and Sonbhadra in UP over his remarks. Authorities in Lucknow and Amethi yesterday banned all his programmes till May 16.
Two more FIR have now been lodged against him in Nagpur and Jaipur under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act. Police today said offences have registered against Ramdev under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act by Panchpaoli police in Nagpur after a number of dalit organisations including MPCC Schedule Caste cell and city Corporator Sandeep Sahare along with Bhimsena, NCP, Youth Congress, AAP and Triratna Bodi Foundation lodged protest.
An MPCC delegation met Assistant Commissioner of Police Baba Dongre yesterday to hand over a memorandum demanding that Ramdev be booked under the Act following which offences were registered, police said. Also, an NCP delegation led by Ajay Patil had lodged a complaint against Ramdev at Sadar Police station but no offence was registered there.
Protesters blackened Ramdev's poster outside his local clinic Patanjali. Activists threw slippers at a poster and burnt it last evening, police added. In Jaipur, a case under section 153A, 504 of IPC for abusing, hurting sentiments and insulting people and 3(1) of SC/ST act was registered on an FIR filed by a Rajasthan University Student Ravi Kirad against Ramdev, a Gandhi Nagar police station duty officer said.
The case would be referred to the Lucknow SSP office for further action, the DO said. Scores of members of dalit community and organisations approached Jyoti nagar police station yesterday demanding that an FIR be lodged against Ramdev, its SHO said. A complaint was lodged on their demand, and action would ensured after proper probe, the SHO said.
Protesters also burnt an effigy of the yoga guru at Ambedkar circle here yesterday demanding his arrest Last week, addressing a programme in Lucknow, Ramdev had said, "Rahul goes to Dalits' houses for honeymoon and picnic."
After massive outrage, Ramdev had expressed regret. Ramdev today reiterated that his remarks against Rahul Gandhi were "distorted and misinterpreted". "I have already apologised but Congress is raking up the issue as it is using the dalits as vote bank," he said.