Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar reached the Himalayan Hospital in Dehradun today to meet Baba Ramdev. This is the second visit by Sri Sri Ravishankar and he is trying to convince the yoga icon to break his eight-day-long fast.
Baba Ramdev, hospitalised yesterday after his health deteriorated, has so far remained unrelenting and has continued with his hunger-strike.
Earlier in the day, the Uttarakhand government too appealed to Baba Ramdev to end his fast.
“We have asked him to break his fast, his well being is very important for India and for the world as he has established India’s identity in the world in all spheres. Everyone is looking upto him and it is important for him to recover to fulfill his efforts for our country,” Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Trivendra Rawat said.
There were also some concerns regarding Baba Ramdev’s health as his blood pressure dropped last night despite treatment. However, doctors briefed the media today on his health condition and said the condition of the yoga guru is improving now.
“There was a drop in Ramdev’s parameter last night but today, he is stable. However, he is complaining about weakness, and is unable to sit and talk. He is not in ICU now, but in a VIP room,” said Dr Deepak Goyal, Deputy Medical Superintendent, Himalayan Hospital.
He also said that all his parametres are under control and there is no need to shift Baba Ramdev to AIIMS in Delhi.
The yoga teacher was carried out of his ashram in Haridwar on a stretcher on Friday afternoon after doctors attending to him said his liver had been affected and his blood pressure was worryingly low because of his hunger strike. Ramdev was given glucose en route to the hospital, but he has refused to end his hunger strike.
Baba Ramdev’s followers have made statements of worry as has the BJP, which has asked the Centre to intervene. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said,”This (black money) is a very serious issue… He has raised some very pertinent questions on the issue of corruption and the whole country is agitated on the issue. We want that the government take this matter seriously and announce some credible measures.”
Doctors have been monitoring the yoga expert’s health every three hours. They said yesterday that since the level of ketones in the Baba’s system had increased, they feared he could suffer permanent brain damage.
Outside the Patanjali Yogapeeth, his supporters took to the streets on Friday blocking the main highway that leads to Haridwar city. They were upset the government had not responded to Baba Ramdev’s demands on black money.
Sri Sri Ravishankar had visited Baba Ramdev in hospital on Friday to urge him to start eating solids. Sri Sri also confirmed that he is mediating between the government and Baba Ramdev, who have been at war since Saturday night, when the Baba was evicted from his camp in Delhi where he combined yoga classes with a sit-in protest and the launch of his hunger strike against corruption and black money.
In Delhi, activist Swami Agnivesh also met with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on the Ramdev crisis on Friday, suggesting that the government may want to start a new round of discussions with the yoga teacher.
The yoga icon whose followers run into lakhs started his fast last Saturday morning in Delhi at the Ramlila Maidan. 65,000 people were in attendance on Saturday night when the police broke up the camp with teargassing and a lathicharge. The Baba was evicted and flown back to Uttarakhand.
The action at Ramlila Maidan ended days of negotiation between the government and the Baba over his suggestions for how to tackle the problem of crores of untaxed money that have been shipped abroad. The late-night violence united Opposition parties who accused the government of violating citizens’ right to peacefully protest. Civil activists who have declared Gandhian Anna Hazare their leader pounded the government too, with public criticism and a one-day fast at Rajghat on Wednesday.
The government has disclosed that various tax inquiries are being conducted against the Baba’s business empire whose reported turnover is more than a thousand crores. Yesterday, the Baba retaliated by declaring online the balance sheets of the four trusts that he runs for charitable purposes. However, he did not share the financial records of the 34 companies that are linked to him and are run by his close aide, Acharya Balakrishna.
The Baba has also been forced to defend a controversial remark he made earlier this week – that he would recruit 11,000 young men and women who would reciprocate if attacked. Yesterday, he said his remark had been distorted and misreported. “The words should be used in the right context… I said I will make a force who will not beat anyone but they will not get beaten either,” the yoga teacher said, adding, “what is the harm or wrong if I speak about shaurya (valour)”.
The Baba’s remark – seen as incendiary by his critics – had also provoked criticism from other social activists and a warning of legal action from the government.