Ramdev refuses to call off fast against corruption (Roundup)June 1st, 2011 - 10:31 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Yoga guru Ramdev Wednesday vowed to go ahead with his planned hunger strike to demand urgent steps to curb corruption and bring back black money stashed abroad, ignoring desperate appeals from the government to abandon his plan.
Civil society activists headed by Gandhian Anna Hazare meanwhile voiced his support to Ramdev. And his colleague Shanti Bhushan invited the government to a debate June 5 to discuss the six issues related to the proposed Lokpal bill that have led to differences between the government and the civil society.
On Wednesday, the government appeared bent on stopping Remdev, who enjoys a wide following in north India, from launching a protest which some officials fear could well surpass the appeal of Hazare’s hunger strike in April.
As he flew into the capital from Ujjain, Ramdev was given a red carpet welcome by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and cabinet colleagues Kapil Sibal, Subodh Kant Sahay and Pawan Kumar Bansal.
But he refused to budge, saying he would go on fast in Delhi’s sprawling Ramlila ground Saturday.
“The agitation from June 4 will take place from Delhi to 624 districts in the country. On the first day itself, more than one crore people will fast and participate in the satyagraha,” Ramdev told reporters at the airport.
Asking the government to declare black money stashed abroad as “national asset”, he said: “The immigration department can be asked to provide lists of people travelling to the tax haven countries for the last 20 years.”
He said that politicians, bureaucrats and certain businessmen frequenting such countries should be investigated.
The government, not ready to take a ‘no’ from him, is planning another round of interaction with Ramdev Friday.
Some officials are hoping that its discussions with Ramdev could create a rift between him and Anna Hazare’s team.
There were some indications to that effect, with Ramdev arguing that there was no guarantee that a Lokpal — which Hazare wants — would not be corrupt.
At the same time, Ramdev said he was not against the prime minister coming under the purview of the Lokpal.
In the morning, Ramdev was cloistered with the four central ministers for more than two hours at the lounge of the domestic airport.
Although he said the first round of meeting was positive, Ramdev made it clear the talks would continue “till the time there is complete agreement on all issues”.
The yoga guru said his main concern was black money — and corruption.
“Apart from a strong and competent Lokpal, we have also talked about a Public Service Delivery Guarantee Act which should be regulated in all the central government services as well the states.
“There should be a fast track court in every state and verdicts should be delivered within a year. There should be a clause providing death penalty to the guilty.”
Minister Sibal agreed that Ramdev had raised significant issues.
“Ramdevji raised a broad range of very important and significant national issues,” Sibal told reporters.
“We prima facie responded to him. We will meet each other and have another dialogue in the next couple of days,” he said.
As talks between civil society members and the government were held up on six critical issues, including bringing the prime minister, Supreme Court and high court judges under the Lokpal purview, lawyer and activist Shanti Bhushan urged the government to take part in a national debate June 5.
Bhushan, co-chair of the joint committee set up to draft the Lokpal bill, said this in a letter to Mukherjee, who is the chairperson of the committee that was set up after a fast by Anna Hazare against corruption triggered widespread support across the country.
- 'Action against Ramdev reminder of emergency' - Jun 05, 2011
- Kejriwal, Bhushans support Ramdev's fast - Jun 03, 2011
- Lokpal meetings: A turbulent journey - Jun 21, 2011
- Anna, team to boycott Lokpal Bill meeting; fast June 8 (Lead) - Jun 05, 2011
- PM urges Ramdev not to fast, promises action against corruption - May 31, 2011
- Hazare team to boycott Lokpal Bill meeting, to fast June 8 (Second Lead) - Jun 05, 2011
- Ramdev plans fast-unto-death, seeking death penalty for graft - May 04, 2011
- Ramdev retracts, says also wanted Kiran Bedi on panel - Apr 10, 2011
- Ramdev is a fake baba: Congress - Jun 12, 2011
- No rift with Anna's team, will attend Lokpal meeting: Hegde (Lead) - Jun 19, 2011
- Activists to meet PM on Lokpal Bill - Mar 06, 2011
- Ramdev to exert 'moral pressure' on Lokpal Bill's drafting committee - Apr 13, 2011
- Can't allow Lokpal to run parallel government: Sibal - Jun 24, 2011
- No nepotism in Lokpal Bill panel, says Hazare - Apr 10, 2011
- Drafting of Lokpal Bill requires legal expertise, says Shanti Bhushan - Apr 10, 2011
Tags: bansal, black money, cabinet colleagues, carpet welcome, civil society activists, guarant, guru ramdev, hunger strike, immigration department, kapil sibal, national asset, north india, pawan kumar, pranab mukherjee, red carpet, sahay, subodh, tax haven countries, urgent steps, yoga guru