Anti-Corruption

Delhi Police Justifies Crackdown on Ramdev’s Protest Citing IB Input on Possible Terror Strike

M. Reyaz, BeyondHeadlines

New Delhi: Coming out with argument in support of its crackdown on the Baba Ramdev camp at Ramlila Ground, the Delhi Police has said it had an Intelligence Bureau (IB) input on a possible terror strike at Ramdev’s camp. In addition, the police also alleged that Ramdev was making provocative speeches, which attracted thousands to the capital from nearby states. This, the police said, could have had an adverse bearing on the law and order situation in the city.

A scene at Ramlila Ground during police action against Baba Ramdev and his supporters in New Delhi on Saturday night (Courtesy: Bhashkar)

According to the police version, the IB alert came late on Saturday. Ramdev, they said, was informed beforehand about the threat and told to pack up and leave; but he chose to ignore the warning. Cops claimed Ramdev was permitted to hold a Yoga camp for 5,000 people at the most; but Baba turned it into an agitation and made matters worse by making provocative speeches. The 5,000 cap on the gathering was ignored and not less than 50,000 people assembled at the site. Cops reasoned that the guru’s supporters were coming with bags, and since there was a bomb blast at the Delhi high court recently, they couldn’t ignore the threat.

Cops said Ramdev was sent three notices to stop his agitation, but when all of these went unheeded, his permission was cancelled at 11 pm, and a team comprising DCP (Central district) Vivek Kishore, Jt CP Sudhir Yadav and an ACP was dispatched to detain him half an hour later. Already, several companies of police and paramilitary forces had been put on standby.

Special commissioner of police (Law and Order) Dharmendra Kumar said: “We had told him about the threat to his life and that he was more vulnerable at the open venue. Additional security was provided to him last evening and he was told not to call more people . Then last night, when we went there, we told him that we were detaining him and that he should tell his supporters to go. At this, he jumped around and went among his followers, asking them to agitate .”

Ramdev, Kumar said, asked his women followers to make a cordon around him.

Cops alleged that the crowd soon turned violent and started pelting stones, flowerpots and even baseball bats. Cops retaliated with a truncheon charge that lasted for nearly 15 minutes. Eight teargas shells were lobbed, too. The tussle lasted for almost three hours during which 62 people, including 39 supporters of Ramdev and 23 policemen, were injured.

Police, however, denied any truncheon charge. “TV channel footage shows there was no truncheon charge. We went there to peacefully remove them from Ramlila Ground. There was a stampede because of inciting speeches and people making human chains to save Ramdev ,” Kumar said.

During the melee, Baba Ramdev changed his dress, put on a shalwar and kameez, and quietly slipped out of the venue , in the guise of a woman. However, additional DCP (east) Dinesh Kumar Gupta reportedly identified him around 4am among a bunch of women.

 

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