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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Indian govt keen on dissuading Baba Ramdev

With Baba Ramdev insisting that his hunger strike against corruption will begin as scheduled on Saturday (04-June-2011), the government is pulling out the steps to convince him otherwise.
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev remains adamant on going ahead with a fast to demand urgent steps to curb corruption and bring back black money stashed abroad despite efforts by the government to stop him.

Baba Ramdev's object is to compel the authorities to facilitate the return of black money to the country; the UPA's is to persuade him to abandon his fast.

The government had faced a similar situation in April when social activist Anna Hazare went on hunger fast on the issue of corruption.

"The black money stashed abroad should be declared national property, and keeping black money should be considered a crime at par with sedition," Ramdev told reporters. "We are not staging any protest or rebellion."

Ramdev, who enjoys a wide following particularly in north India, is to go on a fast from Saturday in New Delhi's sprawling Ramlila Maidan.

He also cleared the air over reported differences with Gandhian Anna Hazare, who has spearheaded a campaign for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill, saying they were together.

The yoga guru says his fast is to protest against the illegal funnelling of wealth abroad by Indians for tax avoidance.

Baba Ramdev called on his many followers to join the fast.

The US-based group Global Financial Integrity has said that India has lost more than $460bn through the illegal flight of capital since Independence.

Almost three quarters of the illegal money that comprises India's underground economy ends up outside the country, it said in a report last year.

Authorities say the government is taking measures to bring back the illegal money, but there are difficulties owing to confidentiality treaties between countries.

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