Four months on, woman crippled at Ramdev fast dies

September 26th, 2011 - 11:43 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS A 51-year-old woman, who slipped into coma after suffering a spinal injury in police action to break up a meeting of yoga guru Baba Ramdev here in June, died Monday after being hospitalised for 114 days.

Raj Bala, who suffered a crippling spinal injury on the night of June 4-5 at the Ramlila ground here, passed away at 10.25 a.m. at the G.B. Pant Hospital following cardiac arrest, doctors said.

She was the most seriously injured among the 100 Ramdev supporters who suffered a variety of wounds after Delhi Police used batons and fired tear gas to disperse the thousands from the ground.

Rakesh Malik, the victim’s daughter-in-law, told IANS that Raj Bala’s condition had been deteriorating in recent days.

She said the funeral will take place in Butana in Haryana and the yoga guru would be present.

“He has been in touch with us. He will also be present at the funeral,” Malik said.

In a statement, Baba Ramdev condoled Raj Bala’s death and described it as an “irreparable loss to the whole organisation, agitation and nation”.

Distraught and angry, Malik blamed the police for the demise of Raj Bala, who lived in Gurgaon adjoining Delhi.

“It happened because of the police… We all know on whose authority police took action. The whole country knows why this happened,” she added.

However, police denied the charge and said that Raj Bala died in a stampede.

“Raj Bala was injured in a stampede and not in a police lathicharge. She has not told doctors at the hospital about any police lathicharge and instead had told them that she got injured in a stampede,” Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Dharmendra Kumar told reporters here.

“The MLC (medico-legal certificate) will have the nature of injuries and what the victim tells a doctor. It was not recorded in the MLC that the injuries were caused by a lathicharge,” he said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said her government will help the victim’s family.

“The government provided treatment to Raj Bala, who was resident of Haryana. Our health minister (A.K. Walia) will meet her family and we will see how can we help her family,” said Dikshit.

However, Malik said the family would get together in a few days and decide whether they should file a suit against the administration.

But she made it clear that they were not hungry for compensation money.

“We don’t want any compensation. We wanted our mother, can they give her back,” she asked.

She expressed disgust that the authorities left the elderly woman to fend for herself after reducing her to a cripple.

“Four months have gone by, what have the governments done? We didn’t even get a word of sympathy from the government,” she said.

Raj Bala was one of the thousands who had thronged the Ramlila ground at Ramdev’s fast against corruption when police broke it up.

Ramdev was subsequently pushed out of Delhi. However, Delhi Police denied using batons and said Raj Bala was injured in a stampede.

Now on a ‘padayatra’ in Uttar Pradesh, Ramdev said: “It is the ultimate sacrifice… Her sacrifice will not go in vain and millions of her brothers and sisters will continue to fight for the cause for which she sacrificed (her life).”

Ramdev’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani blamed Delhi Police and Home Minister P. Chidambaram for her death.

“Delhi Police who committed this heinous crime and atrocity and Chidambaram on whose orders the action was executed are responsible for her death and a suit will be filed against them for murder,” a statement from him said.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the Congress-led central government for Raj Bala’s death.

BJP leader Rajnath Singh said the home ministry in its reply to Supreme Court had said that there was no baton charge on Ramdev’s supporters. The court had taken up the matter on its own initiative.

“What does the government have to say now? How did she die then? Whoever are responsible, action should be taken and they should be punished,” the former BJP president said.

Ramdev’s supporters are also planning a special puja for Raj Bala Tuesday evening.

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