India police evict anti-graft yoga guru from fast venue

By REUTERS
June 5, 2011 05:44

 
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NEW DELHI - Police swooped early on Sunday on India's most famous yoga guru, detaining him briefly and using to teargas to disperse his supporters as they were evicted from a venue where they were on a mass fast against corruption.

The saffron-robed Swami Ramdev, who rose from an illiterate family to host a television show with 30 million viewers and owns a "peace" island in Scotland, began his fast on Saturday in a tent the size of four football pitches in the heart of the capital.

"The permission was for a yoga camp for 5,000 not for 50,000 people for agitation. We have cancelled the permission and asked them to move out," said Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat.

The Congress-led coalition government, whose political authority has been battered by corruption scandals and high inflation, had been negotiating with Ramdev, whose demands included bringing back billions of dollars of illegal wealth stashed abroad and the death penalty for corrupt officials.

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