Ramdev threatens fast against Goa illegal mining



Panaji: Yoga guru Swami Ramdev on Saturday extended his support to the fight against illegal mining in Goa and warned of a hunger strike if the Congress-led Government in the state did not come clean on the issue.

"We will run a campaign against illegal mining before elections (due in mid-2012). If required, I would sit for hunger strike in Goa against those involved in it. Can we allow these looters to be elected to the Assembly?" he sought to know while talking to reporters here.

The popular yoga guru is touring the coastal state, where cases of large-scale illegal mining have come to light, and addressing a series of public meetings as a part of his 'Goa Bachao Sammelan' (Save Goa Conference).

Several village-level groups have joined the Haridwar- based yoga teacher in his campaign in Goa.

The main aim of the campaign is to ensure that none of the politicians involved in illegal mining gets elected to the Assembly in the forthcoming polls, he maintained.

The Swami squarely blamed Chief Minister Digambar Kamat for the mining mess.

"That person (Kamat) is holding the (mining) portfolio for the last 12 years. He is equally responsible for illegal mining."

Clarifying that his organisation (Bharat Swabhiman Trust) would not be contesting the elections here, Ramdev said all political parties would be asked to come clean on the crucial issues of illegal mining, corruption and ill-gotten wealth, prior to the polls.

The yoga guru, who has several branches of his outfits Patanjali Yog and Bharat Swabhiman Trust in the state, said "peaceful" nature of Goans (Goa residents) has stopped them from becoming Naxalites considering the pace at which their land had been diverted for mining activity.

"It will not be wrong if people stand in protest against illegal mining," Swami Ramdev said, adding iron ore exports to a "hostile" country like China should be banned.

The yoga guru claimed that a large part of ill-gotten money parked in overseas banks from Goa has been generated from illegal mining, and land and drugs-related activities.

Lobbying for more share of taxes for Goa, Swami Ramdev said the Centre should pump back at least 50 per cent of the money collected as royalty to the state.

PTI