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Baba booted out; threatens nationwide stir

Published on 6 Jun. 2011 12:43 AM IST
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Angry at the disruption of his hunger strike, Baba Ramdev on Sunday lashed out at the government and targeted Sonia Gandhi over the “police barbarism” on his supporters while threatening a nationwide agitation. Terming police action on women and children at Ramlila ground as a “blot to democracy”, he claimed that there was a conspiracy by the Centre to get him killed and a threat was issued to him during a meeting with senior ministers.  Ramdev, who was detained in a dramatic fashion at his rally before being flown here from Delhi, appeared shaken and upset, often nearing tears as he narrated the developments of the midnight crackdown on his followers. The political war erupted hours after Ramdev, who jumped from a three-metre-high podium and tried to escape disguised as a woman, was served with an externment order that barred him entry into the capital for a fortnight. He was bundled into a police van before dawn and flown to Haridwar in a small plane. The police action came after the government and Ramdev traded barbs accusing each other of betrayal. With the government decision drawing flak, Congress leadership met at the Prime Minister’s residence which was attended by Sonia Gandhi and senior cabinet ministers. The top BJP leadership met in the capital and condemned the police action, saying it reminded the days of Emergency. “The barbarism and atrocities inflicted by police on one lakh people crossed all limits...such atrocities were not seen elsewhere other than in China where thousands were killed, Ramdev said, apparently referring to the Tiananmen Square massacre. “The satyagraha has not ended...The government must answer. We will go door-to-door in every village across the nation to talk about the barbarism of this government. We will again go to Delhi or if there is conspiracy to oppress us, we may sit on satyagraha at a place near Delhi,” he said.

144 of CRPC in New Delhi
In an effort to pre-empt any protest by supporters of Baba Ramdev, Delhi Police on Sunday imposed prohibitory orders for a week in New Delhi district where such agitations are apprehended. “We have
imposed section 144 of CRPC in New Delhi district till June 11,” a senior police official said. The decision to impose prohibitory orders came in the backdrop of some followers of Ramdev camping at Jantar Mantar after they were ousted from the Ramlila Maidan where their congregation was disrupted by a mid-night police action. The official said police anticipate protests at India Gate, Boat Club or Jantar Mantar, places which fall in New Delhi district. “The prohibitory orders were issued following reports indicating that such conditions now exist that unrestricted holding of public meetings, processions and demonstrations in the area are likely to cause obstruction to traffic, danger to human safety and disturbance of public tranquility,” the official said.

Govt rules out further talks, calls fast political
Hours after breaking up Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike against corruption, government on Sunday ruled out further talks with the yoga guru on his demands to bring back black money from abroad. “There is nothing left to discuss (with Ramdev). On what issue we will talk? Whatever talks had to happen have already happened,” Union minister Subodhkant Sahay, involved in negotiations with the yoga guru, told reporters here. Union minister Kapil Sibal also made it clear that the police action had the backing of the government and the party.  Terming the incident to remove Ramdev as “unfortunate”, Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee who led negotiations on behalf of government said “...When negotiations were conducted, he said he will confine (his protest) to three days. If he would have stuck to this, then these turn of events would not have happened,” Mukherjee said.   

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