Ramdev protests spread to Nepal

June 6th, 2011 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, June 6 (IANS) Protests began in neighbouring Nepal’s capital Monday after the Indian police abruptly ended the fast undertaken by yoga guru Baba Ramdev in the Indian capital New Delhi.

The Patanjali Yog Kendra established in Kathmandu by the yoga teacher, whose fans number millions in India and abroad, Monday took out a silent protest rally from the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu to the foreign ministry office nearby, condemning the police eviction in New Delhi.

Protesters, including officials of the Yog Kendras and students, had sought to hold a meet at a public hall in the neighbourhood Monday but were prevented by police who surrounded the venue and prevented them from leaving.

The detained officials then called up Nepal’s Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal asking him to intervene. The premier consulted his Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara and then permitted the protesters to convey their grievances in a restrained manner to the Indian Embassy and the foreign ministry.

Seven members from the Yog Kendra then handed over memorandums to the embassy and foreign ministry, saying that the Nepal chapter was extending moral support to Ramdev’s fight against corruption and was condemning the Indian government’s attempt to suppress it.

The general feeling in Nepal is that the Indian police acted ham-handedly by forcibly breaking up a peaceful protest against corruption undertaken by Ramdev.

“It was not right. The government should have gone deep into Ramdev’s demands and seen how much of it could be implemented and drawn up a time frame in consultation with him. When someone seeks a change in society, it is imperative to know what is the root cause of the demand,” said Swami Prem Krishna, a follower of another Indian guru, Osho.

Baba Ramdev’s campaign, termed by many critics as a gimmick, is being closely followed in Nepal.

Ramdev has yoga centres spread across all 75 districts of Nepal that employ more than 5,000 teachers and 27 ayurvedic centres selling herb-based medicines. Thousands of people in Nepal, including Nepal’s leading politicians, actors and captains of industry, follow his yoga instructions and flock to his yoga centres.

Last year, Ramdev held yoga camps in Nepal and was hailed by the President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, with Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, former prime minister and Maoist chief, attending one of the early morning sessions.

Nepal’s government has given land to Ramdev at subsidised rates to set up his centres and the Baba, in turn, has gifted the republic 50,000 milch cows to improve the production of milk and agriculture.

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