Baba Ramdev cleared, suspects UPA hand behind London detention
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Last Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013, 00:40
  
Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi/London: The United Kingdom’s Immigration Department on Saturday gave a clean-chit to yoga guru Baba Ramdev after questioning him for two days at London's Heathrow Airport.

"The Immigration Department has returned my visa with full respect. One of the UK Members of Parliament here and NRIs living here helped me to get my visa back," Ramdev told a Hindi news channel.

But in a sensational claim, Ramdev claimed that British officials had received a red alert notice against him. He also pointed a finger towards the Indian government for his “illegal” detention in London after emerging from a nearly 20-minute meeting with the immigration officials.

"I'm sad to say that our government did not support us. I'll wait for all the details but what happened indicates that the UK authorities may have been misguided by the Indian government. I believe a red alert was attached to my name," Ramdev said.

Immediately after being released by the immigration officials, while thanking them Ramdev said, "UK officials had seized two diaries from me. Both were on corruption done by the UPA government. But today the UK officials returned both the diaries to me. I would like to thank the UK government for releasing me."

Ramdev added, "When I reached Heathrow Airport yesterday, the Immigration Department stopped me and said they have received a red alert notice against me. I asked about the reason for the red alert since I haven't done anything immoral and illegal ever. But they did not give me any explanation as to why I was being detained."

While asked that a red alert notice is issued only against terrorists, Ramdev said, "Yesterday I was detained for eight hours but was not asked a single question. May be the Indian government tried to misguide the immigration department here. And this was the reason behind my detention."

In response to a question, Ramdev admitted that he was in London on a visitor's visa.

British Customs officials had stopped Baba Ramdev for over eight hours on Friday. Reports said that Baba was stopped because he arrived on a visitor's visa instead of a business visa, which he must have to preach yoga.

Earlier, the yoga guru told reporters he had "never done anything unethical or wrong". He said, "I have been travelling to the UK and the US for eight years and I have never been treated the way I have been treated this time.

"Since yesterday, I have been asking the UK officials to tell me what my fault is," he said.

Ramdev further said he had followed all rules and visa conditions of the British government. "I would only expect that the way we respect the UK, they will show India and Indians the same respect. I'll accept whatever they decide."

He is in Britain to chair a series of 'yoga shivirs' and talks organised by the Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust.

The UK Home Office refused to comment on what it described as an individual's questioning over immigration issues.

Ramdev's spokesperson SK Tejarawala dismissed reports that he was detained for carrying some medicines. "He was not carrying anything with him except a small bag of personal effects. It is for the British authorities to explain why he was detained," he said.

His detention has been criticised by the BJP which urged the Centre to intervene. BJP President Rajnath Singh termed the detention of the yoga guru as "serious" issue and asked the Centre to take cognisance of the matter.

One of Ramdev's events in London, scheduled for this evening, was put on hold.

The yoga guru was to address a gathering of NRIs at the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Lampton Park Conference Center in southwest London.

He was to be joined by high-profile speakers, including BJP parliamentarian M Venkaiah Naidu and British minister Baroness Sandip Verma.

Ramdev was then scheduled to make the keynote address at "The Future of India - Through the eyes of an NRI" event at the same conference centre tomorrow. He was expected to be joined at this event by Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousufzai.

Meanwhile, criticising the detention of Ramdev at London's Heathrow Airport, his spokesman SK Tijarawala said that the incident is an insult to India, its dress code and traditions.

"That, it is an insult to the whole of India. This is simply a case of an insult of the Indian language, Indian attire and Indians. He (Baba Ramdev) carried four pair of clothes and a book of mantras and Vedas in Sanskrit. They didn't give any reason for the detention. No Indian should be insulted and detained this way," he said.

With PTI inputs


First Published: Saturday, September 21, 2013, 20:20


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