"I'll back anyone who fights against black money, corruption"
Returning to Delhi for the first time after the June 4 crackdown on his Ramlila grounds rally, yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Sunday renewed his attack on the government and claimed that it had “no will” to create a strong Lokpal to check corruption.
Declaring that he would continue his battle against black money and corruption till the end, Ramdev said he would lend support to anyone who fought against these evils. But he declined to give a specific answer to a volley of questions from journalists whether he would once again join hands with social activist Anna Hazare and his team.
“I will back anyone and everyone who fights against the curse of black money and corruption. That is the issue at stake… It is not [the question of] Anna or Ramdev. Let us not bring in any individual. The issue is important.”
Ramdev declared that he would undertake a yatra through the length and breadth of the country to create public awareness of corruption and black money. “I had already undertaken a 1 lakh-km yatra before the Ramlila grounds rally. Now, I will undertake a 2 lakh-km yatra.”
Ramdev denied that he fled the grounds to evade arrest. “I was prepared to be arrested. But, the police force appeared to be intent on eliminating me. I had no choice. I didn't want to die at the hands of a police force that was acting as a puppet in the hands of the Central government… I was arrested outside. If I had been caught inside, I would not have been seen again.”
Terming the crackdown on the Ramlila grounds rally “murder of democracy,” Ramdev alleged that there had been “attempts to molest and rape women.”
“Sarkar pehle bhrashtachari hi thi, ab who atyachari bhi ho gayi [Earlier, the government was only corrupt, now it is indulging in atrocities too].”
Rejecting claims that he was acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Ramdev said he was not a “mukota” (mask) of any political party. “I am only a mukota of the people… I do not belong to any party.”
Referring to demands for a probe into his assets, Ramdev noted that he had already made public the accounts of the trusts and other bodies run by his organisation. He said all political parties should follow suit and make their accounts public.
“If it is proved that I have stashed away even one rupee in black money, I am prepared to have it declared national property… I hope others will also do the same.”
Asserting that he had not done anything illegal or unconstitutional to attract government action, he said: “Fighting corruption and black money can't be considered a wrong thing. If that were so, I am prepared to plead guilty.”
In this context, he noted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had written to him, and four senior Cabinet Ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, received him at the airport when he came to Delhi for the rally. “If I were communal, or a Naxalite or a terrorist, they would not have done that.”