Yoga instructor Satinath Baral (left) with Baba Ramdev in a file photo Credit: Twitter

Biswanath: Several organisations in Assam staged protests against Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved on Monday after a yoga instructor Satinath Baral made a controversial statement on Assamese saint-scholar Srimanta Sankardev.

On September 28, at a yoga camp in Duni village of Darang district, Baral had said that Sankardev isn’t a saint and that there is nothing spiritual about namghars (community prayer halls) in Assam.

The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), a leading student and youth organisation of Assam, has set a 48-hour deadline for the closure of all Patanjali establishments in the state, failing which it has threatened to launch a massive protest in Assam. It has also called for a day-long bandh of Patanjali establishments in Biswanath district.

Expressing serious concern over the alleged statement by the yoga instructor, activists of AJYCP burnt Baral’s effigy at the Biswanath police point on Monday. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has also demanded an unconditional apology from Patanjali in this regard.

“We condemn the derogatory comments made by the yoga instructor on Srimanta Sankardev. It’s really unfortunate. He has crossed all limits of civilisation,” said Ishant Saikia, president of the Biswanath unit of AJYCP. Criticising the state government for keeping silent over the whole issue, the students’ leader also demanded that action be taken against him.

Wearing traditional Assamese gamusas and dhotis, the activists of AJYCP raised slogans against the alleged move to malign the image of Srimanta Sankardev.

“We also demand that the owners of establishments who are selling Patanjali products shut down their businesses in protest,” Saikia said.

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