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Swami Ramdev, the star Indian yoga guru who believes that homosexuality is a "disease" that can be "cured" through breathing exercises, has launched a political party to cleanse the world's largest democracy of corruption and foreign influences. The television personality is one of the challengers to the Delhi high court ruling that overturned the British colonial-era ban on gay sex last year.
The New York Times reports on the campaign waged by the man it calls a "yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey."
"Swami Ramdev plans to do for the body politic what he has already done to the country's creaky physiques: whip it into shape," according to the Times. "He announced last month that he would found a political party that would field candidates for each of the 543 parliamentary seats in India's next general election in 2014."
The article does not specify whether Swami Ramdev wants to rid India of homosexuality the way he plans to eradicate "hamburgers and Coca-Cola," but his recent statements should prompt concern, given his tremendous, televised influence among the masses.
Last week, when asked his views on homosexuality in an interview with Yahoo! India News, Swami Ramdev replied, "I still say it's not a physical disease, it is a mental disease. And a person who is mentally stable does not become a homosexual."
Swami Ramdev said that his yoga techniques could "treat" homosexuality, which is what he contended last year when he filed a petition with the supreme court to challenge the lower court's ruling that overturned the British colonial-era law against gay sex.