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  • » 06/13/2011, 00.00

    INDIA

    Guru accused of corruption ends fast

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi, who knows Baba Ramdev personally, points the finger. With an undeclared billion-dollar empire, choppers to move around and medicines with traces of animal tissue, the guru cannot speak about corruption.
    New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The hunger strike of anticorruption guru Baba Ramdev is “due to the market economy and the large amounts of money he has invested in his TV programmes and channels,” which have covered his fast 24 hours a day, this according to human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi. The yoga guru yesterday ended his fast, officially on health grounds; he had originally said the he would continue it until his death.

    For Raghuvanshi, who personally knows Ramdev, all the media clamour around the fast is “ironic”. Whilst “the Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days, taking only water and salt, and Jatin Das died after 63 days of hunger strike, this yoga guru couldn’t resist even ten days.”

    Many in India have accused him of illegal activities, and want to find out how he amassed his huge wealth. “How did Baba Ramdev build a billion-dollar empire?” asks Raghuvanshi, an Ayurvedic physician who chairs the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR).

    “There are also reports that indicate that his medicines contain animal tissue,” Raghuvanshi said, “as well many complaints about labour law violations. Corruption cannot be treated in the abstract. Why doesn’t Baba Ramdev have a social audit? He has not been accountable for his wealth and tycoon connections.”

    Swami Adhokshjanand, (aka Shankaracharya or Master Shankara) from Govardhanpeeth Monastery, agrees. He too has accused Ramdev of acquiring assets illegally and, before complaining about foreign slush funds, the guru should publicly explain the sources of his wealth.

    Likewise, even though the guru’s fast is backed by Hindu extremists, organisations close to the Hindu ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also called for transparency.

    “A decade ago, Ramdev used to move on a bicycle,” said Baba Hat Yogi, national spokesman for Parishad Akhada, India’s leading organisation of sadhus (monks and ascetics). “Now he flies in a chopper. We demand an inquiry into the income and assets of the Ramdev ashram.”

    Trivender Panwar also want to see more. “Baba Ramdev is shouting against black money to protect his own ill-gotten wealth. He is even planning to enter politics to protect his black money," said the president of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (a BJP-affiliated party in the state of Uttarakhand).

    “He claimed last year that a Uttarakhand minister had asked for a Rs 2-crore bribe from him for some favour. If he is so committed to weeding out corruption from India, he should disclose the name of the accused minister."

    For many people, Baba Ramdev is more of a financial magnate than a yoga guru. Since 1995, he has built a yoga empire, from India to as far as a remote island in Scotland. His net worth is estimated to be around 11 billion rupees (US$ 240 million).

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    See also

    30/11/2016 15:38:00 NEPAL
    Nepali authorities “bow” to illegal investment by an Indian guru

    Baba Ramdev has invested 1.5 billion rupees (almost US$ 14 million) through an NGO she heads. Nepali laws establish tight controls on foreign funds, and the guru did not have the right permits. His popularity is being used to re-establish a Hindu confessional state.



    14/04/2015 INDIA
    Haryana: yoga guru becomes "minister" to promote (radical) Hindu values
    Baba Ramdev is set to promote and supervise Ayurvedic practices in the State. The government wants to make yoga compulsory in schools. For Dalit rights advocate Lenin Raghuvanshi, the appointment is designed “to boost fascist forces and the concept of Hindu state".

    24/08/2011 INDIA
    The Indian Church supports Hazare, but is perplexed by his methods
    Anti-corruption activist continues hunger strike refusing to be sustained by a drip. Talks between political parties and his supporters to amend the bill before Parliament. Card. Gracias: "Ending corruption is an urgent need."

    18/08/2011 INDIA
    After his release in Delhi, Anna Hazare to fast for 15 days against corruption
    The activist and government critic will be allowed to protest to push his proposal in parliament. Opinions about him, his methods and movement are divided. “Indians should ask themselves whether they have ever given or received a bribe. That would be a truly Gandhian movement,” said Fr Mascarenhas, from the Pontifical Council for Culture.

    23/01/2007 INDIA
    Indian Church: rather than worship the sun, the government should deal with more pressing problems
    The archbishop of Bhopal talks to AsiaNews about the state government’s proposal to organise a mass sun worshipping ceremony. In his view there are more important issues that require attention. The Muslin community protests against what it considers an un-Islamic and unconstitutional proposal.



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