Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baba Ramdev arrested – Media Reports, Yoga Guru Arrested in New Delhi

New Delhi, 4:00 AM, June 5, 2011: Baba Ramdev has been forcefully removed from Ramlila Maidan by the police while he and his followers were sleeping around 3 AM and the movement disrupted. Baba has reportedly been dropped off at Delhi border and allowed to make his way wherever he can. The rest of the people with him will doubtless be shunted off now and the whole show closed down. – Sandhya Jain
The New India Express Report, 5:10 AM, June 5, 20011
NEW DELHI: Hundreds of police personnel swooped on Baba Ramdev’s protest venue here shortly after midnight Saturday and forcibly removed the yoga guru, less than a day after he began an indefinite hunger strike against corruption.Even as his supporters were teargassed and dispersed with batons, police personnel physically removed Ramdev from the stage, refusing to heed to his pleas that he should be given time to talk to his aides.

Both Delhi Police and home ministry sources insisted that Ramdev had not been arrested and had left the place voluntarily after being served an externment order to quit the capital.
But his numerous supporters contested this and accused the police of brutalities.
“What has happened is disgusting. It was barbarous,” said a former Indian Navy officer from Chandigarh who was among the thousands who had spent the night at the Ramlila ground along with Ramdev.
He and others later said that between 12.45 and 1 a.m., a large number of Delhi Police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel reached the sprawling ground in what was clearly a meticulously planned operation.
A police officer said they wanted to serve the externment order on Ramdev because the Ramlila ground in the heart of Delhi had been allocated for holding a yoga camp and not for what it was being used.
Assuming that he may be arrested, Ramdev took up a mike and frantically appealed to his supporters not to indulge in violence. Very soon he jumped from the stage and ran into the mass of people in the tented enclosure, making similar appeals.
As his supporters threw a ring around him, the situation quickly slipped out of hand. Some protestors whipped out fire extinguishers to try to keep the police at bay.
Very soon, police personnel started using their batons on the crowds to disperse them, injuring many. Some people fell off the stage while trying to protect Ramdev.
Some of the demonstrators hurled stones at the police, who used them as missiles to hit back. Within three hours, most of the Ramlila ground had been emptied but a few hundred remained, angry and defiant.
Police said they were trying to clear out the last of the demonstrators and all roads leading to the Ramlila ground had been sealed. – The New Indian Express, New Delhi, June 5, 2011
1 – Deccan Chronicle Report, June 5, 2011
NEW DELHI: Around thirty people were injured in the wee hours on Sunday when police fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd which had gathered at Ramlila Maidan to support Baba Ramdev.
“Almost thirty people, who sustained injuries have been admitted to nearby Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital,” a senior medical official in LNJP hospital said.
Dr Lokesh of the LNJP hospital said some of the followers, who were admitted, suffered limb and head injuries.
A senior police official said that some of the injured have also been admitted to AIIMS trauma centre and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. Number of casualties admitted in the two hospitals is not known yet, he said.
Some of the followers were also injured in the commotion while they were running to escape the teargas shells.
Four women followers of the Baba, who sustained injuries in their heads, told police that they will not go to hospital and instead sat on the footpath outside the Ramlila maidan as a mark of protest.
“We were beaten up mercilesly…We will not go to the hospital. This is our protest,” one of the followers said. – Deccan Chronicle, June 5, 2011
2 – Deccan Chronicle Report, June 5, 2011
NEW DELHI: With talks with the government breaking down, police swooped down on Baba Ramdev and his supporters a little after midnight on Sunday and removed him from the scene after using tear gas shells and resorted to lathicharge on his supporters to end his day-old indefinite hunger-strike on black money issue.
The dramatic police action came after government and the 46-year-old Yoga Guru had accused each other the previous night of betrayal on assurances.
The midnight drama that broke the calm a little after 1 AM unfolded when a large number of police personnel descended at the Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Baba Ramdev’s hunger-strike demanding immediate action to bring back black money stashed in foreign tax havens.
Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Baba Ramdev was detained as he was leaving the site.
Earlier, Home Secretary G K Pillai had maintained that he was not arrested or detained, a point echoed by Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta, who also rushed to the spot. Gupta said there were some security concerns and that the permission for the yoga camp has been cancelled.
He said Ramdev’s supporters indulged in stone throwing. Police did not use force except to use some tear gas, he added. Ramdev’s key aide, Tijarawala alleged that he has been “kidnapped” by police and he feared for his life.
The spokesman appealed to the Chief Justice of India to intervene and ensure Ramdev’s safety and release.
The police withdrew the permission for his yoga camp and imposed prohibitory orders after what a senior police official said a political decision was taken to end the protest.
The previous night the government and Ramdev indulged in a blame game.
Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who had negotiated with Ramdev in a bid to prevent him from going on fast, made public a letter written by Ramdev’s aide disclosing that they would call off the fast on Saturday evening if government gave written assurances on a legislation to bring back the black money from abroad and stringent punishment to offenders.
Ramdev hit back saying government has indulged in “betrayal and cheating” and vowed not to talk to Sibal ever in his life. He said he would go by the word of the Prime Minister. After mutual accusations, the government on late Saturday night sent a fresh letter of assurance on his demands and appealed to him to withdraw his fast.
In the midnight drama, that was enacted live in front of television cameras, Ramdev’s supporters rose in protest against the police action while some elderly men swooned due to the impact of tear gas shelling resorted to by police.
30 of his supporters have been admitted to a nearby government hospital for treatment of injuries allegedly suffered during the police action.
Chaos and commotion prevailed when the police, including a contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), arrived at the scene and sought to approach Ramdev, who was sleeping on the specially-erected rostrum from where he was addressing his supporters throughout the day.
As news spread that Ramdev may be arrested, a posse of women supporters formed a human cordon around him making the job of police difficult to approach him. Some supporters carried Baba Ramdev on their shoulders and that was the last that he was seen on television screens before he was removed from the place.
Earlier, Ramdev was seen appealing to the supporters to remain calm and sought to pacify them while urging them not to resort to violence. There was a minor fire when one of the tear gas shells emitted spark while falling near the stage.
The blaze was put out immediately. In his address to the supporters, Ramdev appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allow him to be arrested during daytime.
“Why am I being arrested without any information, at night? I appeal to people to maintain calm…,” Ramdev told the gathering. He also appealed the people of Delhi to come in large numbers to the protest venue.
A section of supporters threw pots, tripods and mike stands on cops to prevent them from coming close to the stage.
The crowd dispersed from the stage after police fired tear gas shells. People were seen vacating the dais and the surrounding area after tear gas enveloped the whole area.
Banners were torn, mattresses and furniture lay all over the site.
Police said Section 144 has been imposed at the area under which any gathering of people would not be permitted.
The Ramlila ground was booked for 20 days by Baba Ramdev, who had also turned it as the venue for his “Satyagraha” movement.
Organisers were seen asking people not to leave the pandal and continue protest. Some of them, associated with Baba’s movement, contacting their associates in respective states to protest against police action tomorrow morning.
Large number of people were leaving the spot, some were seen arguing with the policemen that why they have taken such an action when their protest was peaceful.
Government sent a written assurance to Baba Ramdev on enacting law on black money and declaring it as national asset for which a committee will be set up.
Government sources on Saturday night said that the letter has been received by Baba Ramdev. A response is awaited from the yoga guru, they said.
Toursim Minister Subodh Kant Sahai told reporters that the letter has been sent to the yoga guru and expressed hope that he would call off the hunger strike which began here this morning.
“A letter will reach Ramdev in next 30 minutes. It has a written commitment (on the demands made by him) and a clarification on the draft given to him by the government,” Sahai said.
Asked about the content of the letter, the Minister said that the letter provides for a commitment on his demands.
“One issue remained and that was government will announce black money as a national asset, people guilty of corruption will be given exemplary punishment. One per cent of commitment was remaining and we did not want the talks to breakdown. Therefore we are fulfilling the commitment. We hope Ramdev will fulfil his part of commitment of ending the agitation once he the written assurance,” he said.
When pointed out that Ramdev was insisting on the issue of promulgating an ordinance, he said there were no talks about it. He refused to comment on Ramdev’s allegation that government has betrayed him. – Deccan Chronicle, New Delhi, June 5, 2011

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