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Police blame Ramdev for Ramlila Ground troubles, injuries

Friday June 17, 2011 09:45:48 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Delhi Police Friday implicitly blamed yoga guru Baba Ramdev for the crackdown on him and his supporters at the Ramlila Ground here two weeks ago that raised political temperatures, while the Delhi government said it had no role to play in the incident.

Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta said in an affidavit in the Supreme Court that the police had information that there was a threat to Ramdev, who is hugely popular for his yoga teachings.

In any case, Gupta said Ramdev was asked to leave the sprawling Ramlila Ground in the heart of the city because prohibitory orders in the area prevented the gathering of five or more people.

In reality, there were thousands at the ground, attending his indefinite fast against corruption and black money, he added.

Detailing the circumstances of the police crackdown on the night of June 4-5, which forced Ramdev to quit Delhi, Gupta denied that batons were used to break up the gathering.

He said police had fired only tear gas -- and most people got injured in the stampede. Police fired eight tear gas shells, he added.

Tear gas too was used only because Ramdev supporters resisted the police move to have the ground vacated by throwing stones and flower pots at them.

Gupta said that while the ground was rented out for a yoga camp, it turned into a political assembly.

Nearly 100 people were injured in the crackdown, some seriously. One woman is still in hospital due to severe spinal injuries.

The injuries on the dominantly peaceful crowd triggered widespread criticism, including from Gandhian activist Anna Hazare who, in protest, boycotted the June 6 meeting with cabinet ministers to discuss a Lokpal bill aimed at fighting corruption.

After being asked to leave Delhi, Ramdev was flown to Dehradun, from where he moved to his ashram in Haridwar and continued with his fast.

Once his health deteriorated, he was admitted to a hospital in Dehradun. Eventually, on the urging of spiritual and religious leaders, Ramdev ended his fast June 12. He was discharged from the hospital June 14.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Secretary P.K.Tripathi, in his affidavit, distanced the state government from the police action, saying it was entirely a police action and the Delhi government was nowhere in picture.

The apex court, while taking cognizance on its own of the police action, had issued notice to union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, the Delhi chief secretary and the Delhi Police chief, asking them to file personal affidavits stating the circumstances under which yoga guru Ramdev and his supporters were forcibly evicted from Ramlila ground. 







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