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Baba Ramdev: Keith Vaz supports India’s celebrity swami who says gays are a sickness to be cured by yoga

by | 21st, September 2013

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WHY was Swami  Ramdevji detained at Heathrow Airport for eight hours as he tried to make way to Glasgow?

Also known as Baba Ramdev, Ramdevji was scheduled to lead a 1500-strong yoga class in Glasgow this Monday. Immigration stopped him. After hours in limbo, the spiritual leader who is said to be idolised by tens of millions, was handed a 24-hour visa and instructed to return to Terminal Five today. He did so. He was not deported. He was allowed to stay. The yoga class is on.

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, who backed Ramdev, was there to tell media:

“…it is still a matter of concern to his many supporters and thousands of people who couldn’t be here today that he should have been treated in the way he was treated when he arrived at Heathrow. No Indian citizen with a valid visa entering the UK for lawful purposes should be held in this way. This is a very serious situation that occurred.”

Why was he questioned? Zee News quotes the guru:

“When I reached Heathrow Airport yesterday, the Immigration Department stopped me and said they have received a red alert notice against me. I asked about the reason for the red alert since I haven’t done anything immoral and illegal ever. But they did not give me any explanation as to why I was being detained. … Yesterday I was detained for eight hours but was not asked a single question. Maybe the Indian government tried to misguide the immigration department here. And this was the reason behind my detention.”

Some say Baba was stopped because he arrived on a visitor’s visa instead of a business visa, which he must have to preach yoga.

His spokesman SK Tijarawala says that’s nonsense:

“That, it is an insult to the whole of India. This is simply a case of an insult of the Indian language, Indian attire and Indians. He (Baba Ramdev) carried four pair of clothes and a book of mantras and Vedas in Sanskrit. They didn’t give any reason for the detention. No Indian should be insulted and detained this way.”

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What is a red notice?

A Red Notice is issued by Interpol at the request of a member National Central Bureau (SOCA in the UK) or sub bureau (in the UK’s Crown Dependencies) to seek the location and arrest of wanted individuals with a view to their extradition ‘or other lawful action’. For all practical purposes, it is a request by Interpol to its members to arrest a suspect if the individual comes to the attention of the police in one of the member states.

Why would Baba Ramdev be controversial?

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In 2009, he opined:

“Homosexuals are sick people, they should be sent to hospitals for treatment.

He says yoga can cure AIDS:

“We will prove through clinical tests that yoga can cure AIDS. And we will offer the cure shortly, in the next couple of years.”

In 2011, Ramdev went on his hunger strike to protest against corruption and officials taking money out of the country.

The Indian state is no great fans of his. In 2011, he was arrested. Police went in hard (see photo below):

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Police used batons in their early-hours raid on a vast tent in the centre of the capital where Swami Baba Ramdev, a television yoga star, had begun a hunger strike on Saturday. “We had given permission for only 5,000 people to attend his yoga camp but 50,000 turned up. We had not given any permission for a public agitation,” Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP.

Ramdev later described his terror as police swooped on his camp and vowed to intensify his campaign, which has the backing of the main opposition party and several far-right Hindu nationalist groups. “My fast is not over yet and I will continue with my satyagraha (civil resistance).”

In 2009, Ramdev bought Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs in Scotland, for £2m.

“The island base is not about property as much as it is about spreading Indian values,” Ramdev said to a question if he saw any likeness between his acquisition and those carried out by the Tata Group, which has lapped up British brands Tetley, Corus and Jaguar-Land Rover over the last few years.

“My aim is to turn this island into a peace haven,” said Ramdev.

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IBN live has more on the man in the orange robes:

He zips across India, often in a private jet, like he did on Wednesday when some of India’s most powerful ministers queued up to meet him at the Delhi airport. And he is now using his anti-black money stand as his latest calling card. He is 46 years old, young by Indian political standards and has a rather mysterious background. Son of a farmer in Narnaul district of Haryana, he began going to a gurukul at the age of four. He says as a child he suffered from paralysis and that it was Yoga that cured him. His first move to prominence came in 2003, when spiritual channel Aastha TV began featuring him in its daily morning yoga slot. Within years, he had gathered a cult following.

 NDTV notes:

Baba Ramdev muscled his way into India’s consciousness in 1995 when his mass yoga sessions started being televised. He used his classes to preach against corruption in the system, and occasionally to promote a swadeshi ideology that was welcomed by saffron groups.

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Photo above: India’s anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, right, and Indian Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, wipe their faces during a day long fast near Indian parliament house, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 3, 2012. India’s anti-corruption campaigners Hazare and Ramdev are holding a daylong fast to press the government to act against widespread graft and bring back hundreds of billions of dollars stashed overseas. 

The New York Times profiled him. He said:

“If you sweat this much in the morning, you will never get old”

As we crank up the heating to ’11’, the NYT adds:

Without skipping a beat, Swami Ramdev, who as one of India’s most popular and influential gurus has reintroduced yoga to India’s masses, segued seamlessly into his latest passion: politics.

“We clean up our bodies,” he cried. “Then we will clean up our democracy!”

Swami Ramdev plans to do for the body politic what he has already done to the country’s creaky physiques: whip it into shape. He announced last month that he would found a political party that would field candidates for each of the 543 parliamentary seats in India’s next general election in 2014.

“What the people need is honest, brave and responsible leadership,” he said in an interview at the sprawling campus of his rapidly expanding yoga, natural foods and medicine empire in northern India…

Swami Ramdev says India has relied too much on the system of government it inherited from its British colonizers and lost the traditional systems of governing that held sway for centuries.

“The British didn’t make policies to make the country stronger,” he said. “They made them to extract the maximum resources from the country.”

Multinational corporations have no place in India, he contends. India should be steeped in its own culture.

“Be Indian,” he exhorted his followers on a recent morning. “Speak Indian languages. Wear Indian clothes. Drink Indian drinks.”

All things foreign, he argues, like Coca-Cola and hamburgers, pollute the Indian spirit and weaken it. The World Health Organization is a favorite target: it is, he says, “a big conspiracy” cooked up by American pharmaceutical companies.

He’s a big star. But why does Vaz protect a man who says homosexuality is a sickness to be cured?



Posted: 21st, September 2013 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink