Ramdev insults Periyar, calls followers ‘ideological terrorists’

Dalit organizations ask him to leave the country or tender unconditional apology


Dalit and tribal bodies have called for a boycott of the products of Patanjali after Ramdev, the brand’s founder, allegedly accused Dalits, tribal communities, Muslims and the followers of the late Dravidian leader Periyar of spreading “intellectual terrorism”, The Telegraph reported.



Ramdev made the statement on Republic TV during a show with Arnab Goswami on the subject of the ‘victory’ of the Hindus with regards to the Ayodhya land dispute. He had posted the same on Twitter too.


“Ramasamy Periyar, an atheist, described the followers of God as fools and labelled religion a poison. Their message is spreading. They are carrying out character assassinations of our saints. This is intellectual terrorism. This will divide the nation”, Ramdev had said during the interview.

The All India Ambedkar Mahasabha, All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation and the Bhim Army condemned his statement, describing him as a follower of the Manu Smriti, which codifies the caste system.

“The words used by Ramdev will not be tolerated. He has exposed himself as a believer in the Manuwadi philosophy. We have called for a boycott of Patanjali’s products,” said Ashok Bharati, president of the Ambedkar Mahasabha, which represents Dalit and tribal communities.His organisation has called for the burning of Patanjali’s products on the streets on Tuesday.

The Bhim Army, another champion of Dalit rights, has demanded an apology and a retraction from Ramdev, as has Employees Federation president Waman Meshram.

“The Baba has openly insulted the Dalits and the crores of Periyar’s followers. Like the RSS, the Baba does not believe in any alternative narrative about religious beliefs. We will boycott his products and protest everywhere,” Bhim Army spokesperson Kush Ambedkarwadi said.


E.V. Ramasamy Periyar (1879-1973), a social activist and politician who had started the Dravidian Self-Respect Movement, had in his book The Ramayana: A True Reading provided an alternative narrative on the epic. He had interpreted it as depicting a conflict between a Brahminical, caste-ridden and Sanskritic north and a non-Brahminical south.

Taking to Twitter, Bhim Army and other Dalit organizations have asked Ramdev to apologize for his words.

Yesterday, as Dalit activists and members from the community trended the hashtag #BoycottPatanjaliProducts, today they are demanding stricter action with the hashtag #रामदेवभारतछोड़ो.





This is not the first time that Ramdev has invited criticism for making casteist comments. In 2014, Ramdev was severely trolled for accusing Rahul Gandhi of visiting Dalit homes for honeymoon and picnic.


As the call for a boycott on Patanjali products was being made on social media, another video was widely shared Monday where Ramdev can be heard openly insulting Periyar.


Ramdev’s repeated comments against Dalits and minorities have proved that he is a serial offender spreading hate speech and propagating communal disharmony. His links with the right wing party and now the sly repetition of their Hindutva supremacist narrative, has proved that he is anti-equality.


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