In what may be a serious allegation against the Delhi police, the organisers of Baba Ramdev's Ramlila grounds protest have claimed that the closed circuit TV footage of the events surrounding the yoga guru's arrest are missing.
Organisers claim that the missing footages contain the 'atrocities' committed by the police in the wee hours of Sunday.
The allegations come a day after the government claimed the police had not used lathis on the protestors and that women had not been manhandled.
According to the protest organisers Bharat Swabhiman, the person they hired the CCTVs from have sent in writing to them that the main recording box is missing.
"The police have sealed the place shut and we are not allowed inside the venue. Only the people owning equipment are allowed inside the venue to claim their merchandise. The person we hired CCTV cameras from has sent us a letter saying that the main recording box is missing. In addition, four of the CCTV cameras have also been stolen," Anuj Som, group coordinator, Bharat Swabhiman, told rediff.com.
Som claimed that the box containing footages of atrocities like lathicharge and manhandling committed by the police on the protestors, which included senior citizens, women and children, have been stolen.
"We don't have access into the venue. The police and paramilitary forces are controlling the area. Only they could have made the box go missing. The main monitor of the CCTV cameras is also missing," Som said.
Asked about the allegation, Surinder Jeet Kaur, station house officer of the Kamla Market police station, declined comment. A senior police official at the police station, however, said they had not received any complaint to the effect and would investigate the claim when it is brought to their notice.
Organisers also said that the damages caused in the police crackdown at the place run into several lakhs.
Another member of Bharat Swabhiman, who did not wish to be named, said, "We had paid cash in advance for using all the amenities like tents, coolers, fans, furniture, sound systems, etc for 20 days, which we used only for two days. Several coolers and furniture have been damaged. Parts of the wooden platform and additions on the stage were burnt because tear gas shells were fired. All these costs run into several lakhs and will have to be borne by us."
The Ramlila grounds, the venue where the drama unfolded between the government and yoga guru Baba Ramdev, is still sealed shut. A team of policemen have been stationed at the barricaded entrance.
The massive 2,50,000 sq ft tent that had been put in place to accommodate the protestors has been brought down.
Meanwhile, most of the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 protestors who had come to the national capital have gone back to their hometowns, organisers said.
Many of them have left for Haridwar, where Baba Ramdev is continuing his satyagraha. The bags of about 50 protestors, which were left back at the venue during the police crackdown in the dead of night, have been returned to them, the police told rediff.com.
"All the bags recovered at the venue have been handed to the organisers, who have returned them to their owners," SHO Kaur of Kamla Market police station said.
Image: A policeman stands under an empty smoke-filled marquee after supporters of yoga guru Swami Ramdev were dispersed by teargas from the Ramlila grounds in New Delhi late on Sunday
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters