Ramdev’s language betrays a perverse mindset, say leaders

As Baba Ramdev’s comments against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi led to an uproar in political circles and Dalit groups, the police in Lucknow filed an FIR against the yoga guru on Saturday.

The Congress, the Left parties and Dalit organisations demanded stern action against him, saying the Baba and the BJP should apologise for the “shameful and despicable” remarks. They also slammed the BJP's defence that the remarks were misconstrued.

BSP president Mayawati said Baba Ramdev should be sent to jail and threatened to launch an agitation after the elections.

Baba Ramdev was quoted as having said: “He [Mr. Gandhi] goes to Dalits' houses for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become the Prime Minister.”

IANS reports:

Baba Ramdev apologised and said he was misinterpreted. “I did not mean to insult Rahul Gandhi or Dalits ... If my statement hurt the Dalits, I regret it,” he said on Saturday.

Ramdev’s language betrays a perverse mindset, say leaders

Baba Ramdev’s remarks against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi reveal a “perverse” mindset, say Dalit leaders and Left parties.

Kumari Selja and Krishna Tirath, Dalit leaders belonging to the Congress, said on Saturday that the comments showed that the yoga guru had no regard or respect for Dalit women.

“We strongly deplore his remarks and demand an unconditional apology both from him and [Narendra] Modi,” Ms. Selja said.

Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati said the manner in which he questioned the integrity of Dalit sisters and daughters was highly objectionable.

Ms. Mayawati urged the Election Commission and the Uttar Pradesh government to book Baba Ramdev under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and sent to jail.

On Friday, Baba Ramdev was quoted as having said in Lucknow: “He [Mr. Gandhi] goes to Dalits’ houses for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become Prime Minister.”

The head of the All-India Mahila Congress, Sobha Oza, said Baba Ramdev was one of the “nine jewels of Modi” and the “most important figure in his coterie.” She questioned Mr. Modi’s silence.

The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) condemned the reported statement of Baba Ramdev. “This comment insults women as a whole and Dalit women in particular. The NFIW demands action under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” a statement issued by the NFIW’s Annie Raja said.

Brinda Karat, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) polit bureau, slammed the yoga guru for his comments. “He should be prosecuted under the SC/ST Act. The Election Commission should take appropriate action,” she said.

Swami Agnivesh, president of the World Council of Arya Samaj criticised the comments. “Ramdev’s casteist mindset is a stain on the Hindu community,” he said in a statement.

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