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Indian yoga guru slams 'murdered democracy'

Ammu Kannampilly Yahoo! News 06/08/2011 18:24
Indian yoga guru slams 'murdered democracy' - Asia - India - Swami Ramdev - politics

At the spartan headquarters from where he controls a global empire, India's television yoga guru issues a warning to the government which he has seriously unnerved with his anti-graft campaign.

In an interview at his ashram complex in the foothills of the Himalayas, Swami Ramdev accused the government of "murdering democracy and human rights" with a brutal crackdown on his rally site in the capital New Delhi.

"If they continue to harass me like this, there will be protests throughout this country. We won't put up with it," he told AFP as he sat on a sofa, swathed in his trademark orange robes and with luxuriant black hair and beard.

Ramdev appears at ease with the global publicity he has drawn since his hunger strike campaign was broken up by police on Sunday, and he was feted as a hero when he returned to his ashram near the holy city of Haridwar.

After a brisk apology for a four-hour wait to be ushered into his presence, he smiled broadly and cracked jokes as he discussed his impact on India's political scene.

But he railed against the police action Sunday that left more than 70 people injured when officers fired tear gas and baton-charged supporters at a protest camp in central Delhi which had drawn up to 50,000 people.

The strict vegetarian, who has courted controversy with his claims to be able to cure cancer and AIDS, jumped off a stage as the police closed in and he said he dressed as a woman to escape.