Midnight crackdown: From Ramlila Ground to gurudwara

June 5th, 2011 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Hundreds of Baba Ramdev’s supporters, evicted from the protest site by police, found shelter in a house of god — a gurudwara close by.

As the protests site was sealed and entry barred after the midnight swoop, nearly 1,000 Ramdev supporters took shelter at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to freshen up and evade further police action.

“We are here to freshen up ourselves as we could not even get drinking water at the Ramlila Ground. But we will continue our agitation,” Mahendra Joshi from Ludhiana told IANS.

“Around 23 of my friends are still missing,” he added.

“The police have parked buses outside the gurudwara to take us away but we won’t budge till Babaji’s demands are met. We will protest and fight till we die,” said Kamlesh Morey from Bihar.

Hundreds of policemen just after Saturday midnight swooped down on the protest site forcibly removing Ramdev and dispersing his supporters with tear gas and batons bringing the indefinite mass hunger strike to an abrupt end.

“We were sleeping at the venue when at around 12.30 a.m., five people woke us up and told us that several police personnel had entered the premises and were going to arrest Baba Ramdev,” said Anubhav Yadav.

An hour later, Yadav ran for cover as police forcibly emptied the place.

“Electricity was cut and then in the darkness police fired teargas shells and then started beating everybody. I tried to flee but could not see anything because of the tear gas and bumped in some policemen who started beating me with batons,” said Keshav Chaudhry.

“I was dragged like a dog by my legs till the main road and then dumped like garbage in one of the police vans,” added Chaudhry.

Nirmal Das, a priest who was sitting just in front of the dais and was injured in the clampdown, said: “Women priests were dragged by their legs and hair. Two policemen brutally beat me up and tore my clothes. They kept on kicking me for a few minutes before throwing me outside the ground.”

On Sunday, prohibitory orders were clamped around the site and the entire place had been barricaded.

The gaps in the boundary walls of the ground showed the place in complete disarray with
torn carpets, broken tables, partly burnt dais and posters of Baba Ramdev.

Many locals who gathered around the site after hearing the news disagreed with the government’s action.

“Whatever happened last night was totally uncalled for. Is this a democracy? If we are not happy with the system can’t we raise our voice? The government has once again shown its arrogance and shamelessness,” said Jeevan Gupta, a resident of Darya Ganj.

Babu Ram, a tea stall owner, said: “When I heard the news I felt as if I was once again under the British Raj when voices that arose against the system were crushed brutally.”

Many protestors, who lost their baggage and valuables in the commotion, were seen milling around the complex.

“I lost a handbag inside last night. I sent my wife and son back home to Kurukshetra (Haryana) while I have been sitting here since morning trying to retrieve my bag,” said Brij Mohan.

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