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Nepal defends Baba Ramdev aide
Kathmandu, Jun 7 (IANS):
Published on 7 Jun. 2011 11:40 PM IST
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Strong reactions poured in from Nepal Tuesday after reports in the Indian media quoted an Indian politician as accusing yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s principal aide Balkrishna of having fled Nepal after being involved in criminal activities there.
The Patanjali Yog Samiti, established in Nepal by the guru whose fame was established through television, refuted statement by Digvijay Singh, who accused Balkrishna, a Nepali citizen, of being wanted for criminal activities in Nepal and having fraudulently obtained an Indian passport.
“That is a lie and an indication of the way politicians from India’s ruling party have been behaving after losing self control,” said Lab Dev Mishra, Nepal chief of the Samiti.
“Acharya Balkrishna has been living in India since his childhood. It is absurd that he can be involved in criminal activities in Nepal.”
Mishra said the reported allegation that the aide obtained an Indian passport fraudulently would be credible only after government agencies made an official statement about how the document was issued, not on the basis of politicians’ aspersions.
Singh’s comments threatened to create a further rift in India-Nepal ties with many Nepalis perceiving it as a politically motivated attempt to assassinate the character of a public figure just because he happened to be a Nepali.
A Nepali TV agency, News@24, made Singh’s allegation its “Issue of the Day” report Tuesday, talking to people who knew the beleaguered Balkrishna as a young boy to defend him in public.
Nepali journalist Narayan Bhandari said he came from the same Syangja district in western Nepal where Balkrishna was born and had been his playmate.
“He was a simple village boy who was liked by all and never showed any criminal tendency,” Bhandari said.
Balkrishna, born in Bharuwa village, showed an interest in ayurveda and eastern philosophy from an early age and was sent to Hardwar in India to study there. He is also said to have done an academic stint in Benaras.
“He acquired an impressive knowledge of medicinal herbs. When he came to Nepal from time to time, he would distribute ayurvedic medicines freely in the villages or at a low cost,” Bhandari said.
The Nepali journalist said he had spoken to Balkrishna’s brother in Hardwar Tuesday who told him that the aide, described as missing by a section of the Indian media, was well and safe.
“There are no criminal cases against Balkrishna in Syangja,” Bhandari said.
Mishra said though there would be no more public protests in Nepal for now, officials would continue to monitor the developments in India.
As Nepal’s media continued to cover the protests in India, readers wrote to major dailies, comparing India to China, where there was “no freedom of expression”.
Ramdev has yoga centres spread over all 75 districts of Nepal that employ more than 5,000 teachers and 27 ayurvedic centres selling herb-based medicines. His followers include Nepal’s leading politicians, actors and captains of industry.

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