Dalit community members protest against Baba Ramdev's controversial remark
People of Dalit community took to streets in Ludhiana and Jalandhar in Punjab on Sunday to protest against yoga guru Baba Ramdev's controversial remark on Rahul Gandhi and the community.
Ramdev on Friday had commented that the Congress party's vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited households of Dalit community for picnics and honeymoon.
The remark from Ramdev, who is an avid supporter of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, was not only seen as a political attack on Rahul Gandhi but also as an insult to the women of Dalit community.
On Sunday, protesters shouted slogans against Ramdev, burnt his effigy and demanded his arrest.
"We have demanded from the administration and we have given a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Ludhiana, asking a case to be registered against him. We have heard that he has apologised for his remark but hurling social sentiments is never acceptable and he should be arrested for hurling religious sentiments," said a protester in Ludhiana, Ramanjeet Lali.
In the backdrop of the huge resentment and the furor that the remark created, the Election Commission of India issued revised guideline to stop these 'malicious' statements and said the perpetrators of such comments would not be allowed to hold campaigning programmes.
Two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) were filed against Ramdev, including one by police in Uttar Pradesh.
However, Ramdev defended himself saying that those who misinterpreted the language should be penalised and not him.
"Baba Ramdev has not used it with malicious intention towards Dalits but those who misinterpreted the remark against the Dalit should be penalised. I have also said that I apologise if it has hurt the sentiments of the Dalit community," he said.
Ramdev has extended his support for Modi and has been touring India to garner votes for the BJP, after the party accepted his proposal to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks, if voted to power.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)