Seers take stage at Freedom Park

On Sunday, hundreds of Bangaloreans protested against eviction of Baba Ramdev from his fast venue earlier. Religious leaders urged those gathered to demand that the black money to be brought back.

Barely twelve hours after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government’s crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption camp in Delhi, at 1 am on Sunday, 5th June, the ripples could be felt in Bangalore. Deepak Kumar, 40, software professional in an MNC is incensed over the shoddy way Ramdev was treated.

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"I was a passive observer of the movement against corruption but after seeing how the Government came down on Baba Ramdev’s peaceful protest and going as far as to injure women and children, I am inclined to join the fast," says a visibly agitated Deepak at Freedom Park. He joined the members from Baba Ramdev’s Bharath Swabhiman Trust who were holding fast since Saturday morning.

On Sunday, religious seers from across Karnataka descended at the venue to rouse people’s emotions. Members from Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP) and other political organisations too were present. Hundreds of people, of which a sizeable majority of them youth, gathered (organisers put the number at 2000) and vociferously protested against UPA’s actions and showed their support for Baba Ramdev.

Feelings of patriotism overwhelmed the gathering as seers exhorted them by saying that the British might have left India but we are still slaves in our country. They demanded that the alleged 40 lakh crore black money stashed in Swiss banks be brought back to India and used for developmental projects. "We are living in poverty while they (those in power) are enjoying our hard earned money. We will not give up until is brought back," said one. The crowd roared every time the speakers spoke of such topics.

The seers also defended their decision to get in to politics by quoting lore from mythology. "When kshatriyas could not rule justly, sadhus have in the past taken the reigns of a kingdom not with the intentions of grabbing power. They have ruled only till order is restored in the kingdom and then gave back the control to kshatriyas," said one.

Padmaja Jaisal, 40, a lecturer teaching fashion designing in the city feels the actions of UPA will have strong ramifications. "The movement will snowball in to something bigger as the common man has now found a voice. We will rebel against such inhuman acts. The government has stabbed us in the back," she says.

The protest had transcended communal barriers as people from other faiths too joined in. Mohammad Shabbir, 22, an auto rickshaw driver feels that the cause for which Baba Ramdev is fighting for goes beyond religion. "The Government’s acts are totally unjustified. They do not even treat thieves like that. It shows absolute disrespect to the people," he says.  ⊕

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