NEW DELHI: Yoga guru Ramdev on Monday courted arrest after he was stopped by Delhi Police from marching towards Parliament as part of his intensified protest against corruption and bringing back black money stashed away on foreign shores.
Ramdev courted arrest along with thousands of his supporters near the Ranjit Singh flyover, just a few metres away from the Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi, the venue of his fast protest since Thursday.
“Delhi Police is a puppet in the hands of the Central government. We will not do anything that disrupts peace. We wanted to march towards Parliament in a peaceful manner to make our voices heard,” he told his supporters before courting arrest.
“Our intention is not to disrupt peace. We will cooperate with the police and go according to the law. We have respect to the law of the land,” he said before getting into a Delhi Transport Corporation bus which Delhi Police had brought to take him.
He is being taken to Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi. Holding the national tricolour, Ramdev hopped into a open vehicle from outside the Maidan in central Delhi and began his march at 1:15pm. He was soon joined by thousands of his supporters.
“Let us start the march to Parliament. Our march is not to gherao Parliament. But to agitate. None of our volunteers should indulge in violence,” he told his supporters before beginning his march.
Ten minutes into the march, the cavalcade was stopped by Delhi Police near the flyover, saying that they do not have permission to march.
Heavy police presence could be seen outside Ramlila Maidan and Ranjit Singh Flyover, the route of the protest march.
Ramdev announced on Monday morning that he and his supporters would march towards Parliament and hold an agitation outside the complex.
“The government has become completely deaf. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament. We are not talking about gherao,” Ramdev said while addressing his supporters in the morning.
“Lok Sabha polls will be in 2014 and 99 per cent could be in 2013. This protest is to ensure that no dishonest person enters Parliament. Such people should be boycotted. We do not have a political agenda,” he said.
Earlier, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav shared the dais with Ramdev, who attacked Congress and asked people to throw out the UPA government accusing it of not acting against corruption and black money.
The NDA leaders appeared on the stage and sat with Ramdev and his supporters. TDP leader Nama Nageshwara Rao, BJP MP Vijay Goel and Akali Dal representatives also shared the stage with Ramdev.
The presence of NDA leaders assume significance in the wake of Ramdev taking a vow to oust the Congress in the 2014 elections.
Gadkari pledged his party’s “full support” to the yoga guru’s agitation against black money and launched a blistering attack on the Congress-led UPA Government on issues like corruption and black money.
In his address, Gadkari told Ramdev that the BJP would stand “fully behind him” in his agitation demanding bringing back black money stashed away in foreign banks and that the party was raising the issue in Parliament.
“There is no political agenda to this agitation. This agitation should not be seen from political prism. This is an agitation of the people of the country and not of one single party. Black money should be brought back to the country and spent on the country’s development,” he said