Thoughts on economics and liberty

Did Baba Ramdev offer to be arrested? If so, the Congress must resign

Eight days after the Ramdev incident of 5 June, I've today read something published on 8 June 2011 that has made me truly angry and upset.

A little while agoSandeep Shelke of FTI pointed out a newsreport by Rajat Sharma in which the reporter says:

I heard Swami Ramdev sitting on the shoulder of one of his supporters telling the police: “Do not beat the people here, I am ready to court arrest”.

If what Rajat Sharma is saying is true (I'd need to see further substantiation of this statement through more witness statements)  then I will remove my post in which I suggested that Ramdev had behaved like a coward. [I've since removed it] This (Rajat Sharma) evidence turns the table entirely on the information available so far. Ramdev behaved honorably. Instead, it was the police that behaved as cowards by beating up his non-violent supporters and behaving like the mafia. 

[This portion (in blue highlight) has since been verified by a commentator on this blog – hence is provided only as an archive]

I'm unfortunately unable to confirm the veracity of Rajat Sharma's report. It sounds plausible and in a court of law it will have great credibility. However, the combined story of events of that night needs to be reconstructed. The footage on Youtube of Ramdev's jumping off the dias (provided by Dr Gogoi in a comment that I've seen a few minutes ago) does not indicate that the police were attacking him at the time he fled. 

Nonethelss, this article by Rajat Sharma opens up a VERY SERIOUS line of investigation for the people of India.

If it is true [Yes it is] that Ramdev had offered to be arrested, then governance in India has reached a nadir. To allow violence to be perpetrated  (or threat of violence used against his followers) on someone who is undertaking a non-violent protest and who has OFFERED TO BE ARRESTED is nothing short of criminal.

If this report is true , (Yes, it is) I call for the resignation of the Congress Government.

No government has a mandate to ATTACK innocent citizens. 

The Government has, if this report is found to be true (Yes), committed a heinous crime, FAR GREATER THAN CORRUPTION. A free society needs a government to DEFEND its life and liberty, not to attack its innocent citizens.

If this report is true [Yes it is], I must also apologise to Ramdev and his followers for my earlier comments that were based on newsreports that did not point out that he had OFFERED TO BE ARRESTED, but showed, instead, that he had fled and hidden behind women – something that is totally dishonorable. 

To clarify matters I call for major and urgent judicial inquiry, to find out the truth about what transpired that night.

In this day and age with video cameras widely available, it should not be too hard to produce a judicial report on what happened. Let's know the precise truth about Ramdev and the Congress. Then we can decide.

The beginning of the end of the Congress?

In 1975 Indira Gandhi was brutalising India. Sanjay Gandhi was violently attacking the poor and sterlising them forcibly. That is the time I made this painting, below, in May 1975, just before Indira imposed the Emergency. In 1977 the country threw her out.


If it turns out to be true [Yet it is] that Ramdev had OFFERED to be arrested, then the Sonia-MMS-Rahul combine is FINISHED. I don't care how incompetent a government is, or how corrupt. One thing we can't condone AT ANY TIME UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE is violence against innocent citizens.


Let me also note that I'm very pleased that Ramdev has called off his fast. Fasting unto death is NOT the way to resolve the problem of corruption. I suggest he consider following the suggestions I have made here.

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28 thoughts on “Did Baba Ramdev offer to be arrested? If so, the Congress must resign
  1. Anish Tripathi

    Hi Sanjeev,
    I can confirm to you that I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes, the covereage on TV that night, wherein Ramdev was sitting on a supporter's shoulders (this was after he had jumped off the stage – he did not run off from the scene when he jumped off the stage), shouting that I am willing to get arrested, please do not push or beat his followers, especially the women and children.
    I do believe that the CCTV coverage has been confiscated by the Delhi police, wherein there was some evidence of their wrong-doing, which has been erased now!
    There are times when I agree with you and then where I dont. If you are willing to call for the resignation of the govt, I cudnt agree with you more, as in my view, this was the nadir, the govt has lost the right to govern the country!
    I also believe that the orders were not given by MMS, but my SG to PC. So, who is running the coountry is no more in doubt right, an unelected dictator.
    This to me is an untenable situation now!

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks for this, Anish

    I’ve got your email ID with me as evidence that you are real person.

    Two witnesses is normally sufficient to prove even murder in the court of law. I will now “unpublish” my criticism of Ramdev as a coward. I apologise to him personally for having formed a mistaken view about his courage, based on incomplete reporting of the events by the Indian media.

    Re: CCTV coverage being blacked out. Please show me evidence of such a claim. This is getting much worse than I thought.

    But let me add that the people of India are NOT fools.

    They will THROW out such a government.

    This is ENTIRELY unconscionable.


  3. Bharat Vaid

    i have aslo seen the same footage as Anish Tiwari and will stand by in any court of law. just provide the date and time and i promise to be there.

  4. venkatesh

    It all started around 12.30 am sunday and it was live on TV and i was shuttling from TIMES NOW and NDTV and was on tweet where Burkha Dutt of NDTV was tweeting the whole event and expressing her anguish even though she never endorsed the BABA movement. She tweeted though i do not agree with Ramdev agitation but there is lot of questions to be answered by the govt how it could attack on a peacefull sleeping public men, women and childrens on Times now Aurnab was live and felt anguished on what was hapening on live , The journalist with their eyes burning and watering due to the tear gas shells fired and the hazy due to smoke visibility, A part of the tent was set on fire and how people where trying to estiguish the fire with sacks and mud, and the people with folded hands praying and pleading with the police and the police lathi charging the crowd hitting very hardly with out the fear that every act of theirs was captured on camera live and last some to protect themselfs ran back side of the stage and found broken bricks and threw at the police in certain places the jurnalist and TV camera crew been threatended by the police . When BABA jumped in to the masses was around 1am before he jumping he tried to address the people through the mic which was cut off by the police at the first place it self then he actually went in to the public and did not jump but lately it looks like an edited version been shown and looks like he is seen jumping and running which is absolutely wrong but it seems and looked like the stage was higher and the whole mob surrounding the stage if he had to go in the midst and down the stage he had no other way to jump down the stage & addressed the people and the police saying to remain calm and said do not lathi charge the people i will come forward & get arrested . This is what i saw in live TV coverage .

  5. gopi

    Pl also read article in today's Punjab Kesari by Manmohan Sharma where he says the same thing. MN Buch in Sunday Guardian also says something along same lines indirectly. Further, he (he is a former Chief Secretary of MP) says that the entire police operation on Jun 4 was illegal and against rules. He also says if someone like Ved Marvaha were Police Commissioner, they would never have allowed this to be carried out!ङ्कढरफ्ढ-श्वॅ‘-क्कढ%5Dौफ्ढढ-फ्ढु-¦ढढ0úद्बढ-श्वॅ‘-ङ्कढफ्ढद्बढढ-श्वॅढु-र्र्ल्ढढढुष््ढ
    Please also comment on the disgraceful conduct of our mainstream media esp TV channels.

  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Gopi

    I have the highest regard for M.N. Buch (who taught the 1982 batch at the Academy when I joined the civil service) and have read his article. I agree entirely with him.

    Given the illegal use of force by the Congress government – I now also call upon my erstwhile friend Harsh Mander to IMMEDIATELY resign from the NAC. He made a big deal about the illegal use of force by Narendra Modi (and I agree with him on that issue), but by staying on the NAC he is effectively supporting a CRIMINAL government.

    That the Congress has always been an enemy of the people is clear (through its corruption and bad policy). With this attack on innocent people, it has now totally lost legitimacy.


  7. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Further from Facebook:


    Aditya Bajoria: 




  8. vikram

    Regarding CCTV
    Read the thread on the official bharatswabhiman trust google group
    Besides this the person incharge went to collect such stuff all the eviction was thoroughly done, but the police did not allow them to take it, nor did they give them list of things they confiscated – instead they threatened them that they should take whatever was being given or else they will do their work (threatening to cause them damage).
    The person incharge told about this on Aastha TV when they all assembled back in Haridwar. I dont thing this bit will be available on youtube.
    This is not all, many more atrocities were done by the police there – but many such tales were shared by common people, who finally moved to Haridwar to again join the anshan. Even ladies were dragged from the toilets and then beathen, and chased even into the gurudwara. When they told the police that this is not correct and why they were doing so – the policemen told that this is nothing as compared to what they have been asked to do. (obviously this again is what I saw on Aastha TV where couple of ladies were sharing how they were traumatized — however I was there on Ramlila ground when Baba Ramdev did offer to get arrested)

  9. Gopi

    Mr Mander, in my opinion based on his weekly rant in various newspapers, is a complete phony. He so often castigates us "selfish" middle classes but does not tell us how much he earns or his assets or how much he has given to others (same applies to another phony – Mahesh Bhatt). He claims to have resigned from IAS to protest riots and govt failure in 2002 (I agree about failure) but I do not recall him offering to resign to protest 1985 riots in Gujarat which went on for months (I lived there in 80's). The original protest – against reservations – was converted by Solanki & Co into Hindu-Muslim riots through Con's supporting  like in underworld! As Kishen Kak has explained, in reality, he took early retirement, not resigned. You can not expect any morality from such "amoral" persons~
    Read in today's CONgraph of Kolkatta ranting by Ashok Desai on hate of "Hindutwits" (his col. will rank among top 10 in hate n vile esp wrt BJP-RSS in ELM). Here is another phony who is ranting against NM on pogroms but had no hesitation on joining a govt headed by a person who – as union home minister – presided over the biggest such pogrom since 1947, viz. killings of thousand of Sikhs in 1984. Or kept quiet about attack on Statesman offices and arrest of its editor for publishing an article few years ago.
    With such controllers of public discourse and media, we do not have much scope for change in India until we have a powerful alternative voice – our version of a Fox TV! Even Lord Vishnu needs a Shankha (media) in one of his hands.

  10. Dr Tenzin Gogoi

    Dear Sanjeev,

    You have takenvery wrong videoto prove your Highlighted text that Swami Ramdev was eventually fleeing off to safer location.Let me tell you this is a EDITED version of video by NDTV but on Times Now I h've seen the FULL version of this video before jumping off this stage one police commando was forcefully holding his wrist very firmly and after a a bitter pushing battle he managed to jump off the stage you could search full version on Net where Police was present on stage!
    About Arrest Issue
    This is a video of Starnews

  11. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Dr Gogoi
    I’m very sorry to hear about the way Ramdev was treated by the police, and despite his offer to be arrested in a decent manner, he and his followers were literally attacked. This is a total disgrace.

  12. Supratim

    Dear Sanjeev,
    It seems to be my lot to play the Devil's Advocate or the Cassandra – so, let me do that again.
    What is the credibility of IndiaTV's reporting? This is the channel of the "bhoot-prets" and close encounters of the fourth kind! :) They will report a sighting of a ghost with the same seriousness as they reported on Ramdev – so, where is the credibility.
    I have not found the above youtube video being used by any other media channel, even the "rightist" ones, who have otherwise gone to town against the govt and Congress. Why not? How does anyone know that the voice over is not dubbed?
    Ramdev is also on record, castigating those who questioned him for running away – and, he even invoked Shivaji to make his cowardly deed look respectable (poor man, does not know his history or the context in which Shivaji wore women's clothing). Amongst the multiple press conferences he has held since Delhi, why has he not said even one time that he offered to be arrested? He has certainly floated the conspiracy theory (that is talked about in Rajat Gupta's note) that the Police were out to kill him but no comments AT ALL about offering to court arrest?
    There is no evidence here – only smoke and mirrors. The only real evidence is Ramdev being arrested, while skulking in women's attire, next to a railway station.
    And, the Congress must pay – the government must pay – but the real victim is Raj Bala, who lies paralysed in a Delhi hospital due to injuries suffered either in a fall or lathi charge when the Police were clearing the grounds. She is the real victim here – not some coward who ran away.

  13. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Supratim

    Thanks for your critical thoughts. We all should welcome (and need) the other side of the opinion, to ensure we are kept “straight” and accountable.

    I guess I’m making a judgement call, sitting far away from the scene, based on an assumption that people who report tell the truth. In the previous instance I assumed that reports of his hiding behind women were true. Now I’m assuming that there was a more complex story to the situation. Both news reports could simultaneously be true.

    Rajat Sharma might have been inaccurate, but a commentator on this blog has confirmed that he personally heard this as well. I know all this is very weak in terms of evidence, not being checked either through a sworn statement, nor through cross-examination, but 99% of the data we receive in real life is based on people’s statements, and unless an ulterior motive is proven, we must take them to be true.

    What bothers me is that this man Ramdev, being a novice in the field of public administration and law (he perhaps doesn’t know the basics of the CrPC and IPC, leave alone the constitution) might have under-estimated his rights, and confounded matters. His advisers should at least have known the basics of the law. It is absurd that police can walk up to you in full view of journalists and their cameras, and start beating up people, and you don’t know HOW to deal with the police. This man was simply not prepared.

    I’ll await further data on this matter, and possibly the results of a judicial inquiry. But I’m currently, based on the limited evidence available, willing to give Ramdev the benefit of the doubt and rehabilitate him from a coward to an immature ill-informed village bumpkin.


  14. Supratim

    But I’m currently, based on the limited evidence available, willing to give Ramdev the benefit of the doubt and rehabilitate him from a coward to an immature ill-informed village bumpkin.

    Ouch!!! I do not think his followers are going to thank you for that rehabilitation!
    There is certainly a lot of complexity to this particular story – layers that remain to be unpeeled – one question that remains unanswered is where was Ramdev's most "trusted" advisor for 3 days after the Delhi grounds were cleared? And, why is he unwilling to disclose this?
    But, there is no denying that the Delhi Police over-reached by a big manner, when they cleared the grounds – unnecessary force was used and one poor, innocent victim has paid a horrendous (maybe, permanent) price. However, unlike Ramdev's followers, I do not deny the right of the Delhi Administration to clear the grounds – the public grounds were clearly being misused, contrary to the permissions that were sought and granted.
    There is a lot that the Delhi Police can learn from their counterparts in Mumbai.
    Meanwhile, there has been another interesting development – given the trenchant criticism on transparency, Ramdev's group seems to started taking baby steps towards some self-disclosure. Good work, guys, but still miles to go – you can not ask people to apply to the Company Law Board for company accounts, which you can disclose so easily, especially when the scuttlebutt is that the group has over 500 companies!!! Come on, Ramdev's followers, walk the talk.

  15. vikram

    Agree with Arindham's views (in the youtube video lined by Dr Gogoi) on Ramdev, and that its UPA/Congress gov which has exposed itself – not that they exposed Ramdev.

  16. dcagrawal


  17. Murthy

    I did see in TV that Baba Ramdev offered to be arrested.
    He might have been physically & mentally tired as he was traveled around 1 lakh kilometers, attending 2-3 yoga camps before june 4th. so he might have taken some bad decisions on that night.

  18. Info

    Yes..I myself have seen each and every moment that night as it was just 10 PM for me.I had been watching the TV until midnight.And i have heard Baba saying arrest me.But not beat people.But this is a tyrant government.We really need  leaders who can serve the common mass of the country..Do betterment  first for the Indian villages.I am deeply sad and ashamed that what kind of people are ruling our Nation.It is a shame to every indian ,those who support Congress and its 92% corrupted leaders.
    Look at our media.Most medias are paid by the congress to suppress the news against government.If people of India have blood of their own motherland they will fight for their Nation ,their people and their rights .

  19. Neha

    These Congressmen are great frauds . They know very well to tackle these kind of situations. Now they are beating around the bush and making all the propaganda that RSS,VHP etc etc are with Ramdev Baba and trying to defuse the situation. They are not coming to the most wanted point ; bringing back the black money. Please make note of the names who are opposing Baba Ramdev during these days "They will definitely be in the Swiss Bank Black list".

  20. vikram

    the truth of 4th june ramlila ground
    swami ramdev replies allegations of gov & doubts in people mind in aap ki adalat
    Press Conference Live From Delhi_- Baba Ramdev, Date-26-06-2
    just one example the media and people around are corrupt and liars, and working directly or indirectly to do character assasination of ramdev… for example in this article the author has reported that he has hoarded wealth to the tune of 11000 crores — whereas its the total turnover which is 1100 crores almost everywhere till now…. and even that money is not hoarded… its in use in service for the people
    interviews of eye witnesses of 4th june ramlila act

  21. nidhi

    Hi Sanjeev,
     i am  happy u rmoved that blog wher u defamed ramdev. Again i am not at  allhis fan and diagree too in so many ways but i respected his cause and work.
    It is also a lesson for you to remember  to think ad analyse 100 times before coming to conclusion speaciall in such matters and people.
    i had stopped visiting your site but just wanted to come back check yourves on Anna movement .

  22. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I did not defame Ramdev. The information from journalists was inaccurate. I used that as a basis to form (at that point) a correct view. I have no intention of FALSELY saying anything against anyone. And yes, if Ramdev had NOT offered to be arrested and had actually fled (as reported by journalists initially) I would NOT have removed my blog post on this topic.

    When you come to my blog you can expect the PURE TRUTH. Nothing less.


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