Baba Ramdev, a well-known yoga guru with a throng of devoted followers, has been leading a fight against government corruption for over a year in India. On Monday Ramdev shouted, “Remove Congress and save the country” while leading a large group of followers towards the national parliament building, CNN reports. Police quickly and briefly detained in the guru in order to stop the procession.
Ramdev is well-known in the country and started a hunger strike in retaliation to the government last week. Millions regularly watch his yoga and breathing exercises on television, and he has had an illustrious career as a yoga guru. Last year he staged a hunger strike in June that was stealthily shut down in an overnight raid in New Delhi.
The guru’s famous displays are part of a larger national oppositional Hindu movement that is critical of the current government. He has been staging the current week-long protest to demand that the government change its corrupted ways. He has called for investigation into money that political leaders and investors store in foreign banks in order to avoid taxes. The Washington Post also notes that has demanded a stronger Central Bureau of Investigation and greater checks on the government.
Followers of Ramdev were chanting behind him on Monday before he was detained, and he was joined by many members of official oppositional political parties. Some estimates put the number of followers at about 10,000. Those who were willing to march were fairly warned by the staunch government in New Delhi that any attempts to march to the Parliament building would be met with resistance.
Of course once police had decided to arrest and detain Ramdev and his many followers, they faced the conundrum of where to keep them. Police took the group to a Ambedkar Stadium and allowed them to leave soon afterwards. Instead of dispersing, Ramdev then demanded that officials provide supplies for his followers so that they could stay at the stadium and continue their protest. He agreed to end his five-day fast if officials met his demands. Critics of the guru have been cynical of his views because of his massive wealth from yoga fame and a lifestyle that does not represent the way the majority of his followers live.
Just last month a massive power outage pushed residents in India to the brink. Many people blame the skewed policies of the current government for the power outage.
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