Indian yoga guru banned for 'honeymoon' jibe

Baba Ramdev barred from all activities in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow city for personal attack on ruling party leader.

    Indian yoga guru banned for 'honeymoon' jibe
    India's Election Commission warned people against making "malicious" remarks about individual's private lives [AFP]

    Controversial Indian yoga guru, Baba Ramdev, has been banned to hold any activity in Lucknow, the capital of northern state of Uttar Pradesh, after his 'honeymoon' remarks against the ruling Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, according to local media.

    Ramdev's comments on Friday that Gandhi visited Dalit (formerly untoucahbles) homes 'for honeymoon and picnic' triggered controversy with the ruling party demanding strict action aganist the yoga expert.

    The popular yoga guru, who is supporting the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ongoing parliamnetary elections, said he was misrepresented.

    "The statement I made has been misrepresented. The term 'honeymoon period is over' is commonly used in political language. I tried to use it in that sense," he told media on Sunday.

    "He (Rahul Gandhi) goes to Dalits' house for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become the Prime Minister," Ramdev had said.

    Police have charged Ramdev for false statements after analysing the video footage of his statement.

    The ruling Congress has demanded Ramdev be arrested.

    "He has insulted the Dalit community...there are certain crimes which cannot be pardoned," party leader Rashid Alvi said.

    A Dalit BJP leader Udit Raj, however, said that Ramdev had not said anything "wrong" against Dalits and his intention was also not "wrong".

    The authorities have, meanwhile, banned him in Lucknow till the elections are over.

    India's Election Commission warned people against making "malicious" statements about the private lives of individuals and said those violating the directive would not be allowed to hold programmes during polls.

    A number of leaders from across the political spectrum have been accused of hate speeches during the campaigning for the multi-phase elections that end on May 12.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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