Christian groups oppose anticorruption movement by Baba Ramdev

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known for teaching Yoga and having millions of followers, has drawn church’s criticism for his ties with Right-wing groups infamous for attacking Christians.

Delhi’s Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao condemned the yoga teacher’s ongoing mass campaign which seeks to curb corruption as it is being supported by Hindu groups. The Archbishop, who actively participates in civil society movements, said he was sad to see and hear a known anti-minorities baiterSadhvi Ritmbara sharing the stage with Ramdev. “One also saw a large number of saffron clad men adorning the dais, raising questions in our minds whether it was a national movement or political and/or a religious movement”, Concessao said in a statement.

The Archbishop condemned the police crackdown but justified the questioning by police who had given permission to the yoga guru only to conduct a yoga camp. Concessao said he did not “support arm twisting methods or the agenda of clean governance to be usurped by politicians for their own political gains.”

“The incident shows the unholy mix of religion and politics” UCANEWS quoted Catholic Church spokesperson Dr. Babu Joseph as saying.

Samuel Jaikumar from the National Council of Churches in India, a body representing mainline Protestants, said Ramdev’s protest had a communal element to it as it was reportedly supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the country’s largest and most influential Hindu nationalist organization. “Real issues like corruption and black money have taken a back seat,” Jaikumar added.

Ritmbara is a prominent member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or the World Hindu Council. The RSS is the ideological mentor of India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is aimed at promoting Hindu values. VHP is a religious wing of RSS and is active in opposing fradulent means adopted by Christian missionaries to lure Hindus to convert. VHP is also spearheading Ram Janmabhoomi movement to build a Ram temple at the birth place of Ayodhya.

Christian Rights groups say on an average around 200 incidents of attacks on Christians are reported each year and a majority of them can be attributed to groups like the World Hindu Council.

Ramdev, who has assets worth millions of dollars, is a Hindu leader promoting Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedas. He is demanding Indian government to bring back the illegal money to India and enact law providing for death penalty for corrupt officials. Over 100,000 people joined Ramdev’s fast-unto-death against illegal money stashed in banks abroad by corrupt politicians and tax evaders on June 4 in New Delhi. However, a police crackdown forced his followers to return in the night. Police also detained Ramdev. Hundreds of Indian-Americans followers across the United States also observed fast in support of Ramdev, who claims to give health and happiness to his followers and cure cancer and AIDS through yoga. Friday, 10th June 2011, was the seventh day of fasting by the 46-year-old yoga guru.

Source: Christian Post

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