We are here to battle corruption: Ramdev supporters

August 10th, 2012 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Thousands of people began the day at the Ramlila Maidan early Friday with synchronised yoga but they insisted they were there only to give strength to yoga guru Ramdev’s campaign against corruption.

Most men and women at the sprawling ground seemed to be long time followers of Ramdev but for now they are worked up over the high levels of corruption in the country.

The ground was swarming with thousands of mostly middle aged people, the front rows filled by women, as early as 7 a.m.

Many had spent the night at the ground, having reached it even before Ramdev started his three-day fast Thursday, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Quit India movement.

“Yoga can be learnt even on television. We are here only for the revolution,” said Dheer Singh, an Arya Samaj leader from Uttarakhand. “We have not travelled all the way to Delhi to learn yoga.”

Ramdev is seeking the seizure of black money stashed away in foreign banks, a strong Lokpal Bill, and a transparent process while naming heads of institutions such as the CBI and Election Commission.

The yoga session Friday morning lasted two hours, overseen by Ramdev from a raised platform.

“I am a follower of Baba Ramdev and his yoga but it is his movement that brings me here,” said Surendra Agarwal, a 63-year-old resident of Sadar Bazar in Delhi.

Rajesh Kumawat, a social worker from Rajasthan, said: “I am here to support the cause that Ramdev baba has taken up, not just to learn yoga.”

Nagendra Rao, who has come from Uttar Pradesh, spoke highly of yoga.

“Yoga purifies your head, heart and soul,” he said. “And if we are fighting against corruption, what can be better than starting our day with yoga?”

The sentiment was echoed by Saahil Lakhanpal, a final year student of chartered accountancy from Chandigarh: “There are many amongst us who have no interest in or knowledge of yoga. We are here because we are victims of corruption.”

Another Chandigarh resident, Janak Magotra, agreed.

“Yoga may be the base of Ramdev’s teachings but corruption is the main reason for people to come here from different parts of the country,” said the software engineer.

Ramlila Maidan has become a virtual home for the thousands — a police officer Thursday put the crowds at 50-60,000 — who have come from states around Delhi as well as afar.

And they plan to stay put as long as Ramdev wants them to.

On Friday, Ramdev asked the crowds: “How many of you are willing to be in the agitation for three years?” Thousands of hands went up in response.

The organisers have arranged for vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner, given gratis to the protesters.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel, including the Rapid Action Force, have been deployed at the ground in the heart of the capital.

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