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Why Baba Ramdev was denied permission to hold protest

Last updated on: June 8, 2011 12:54 IST

'Provocative speeches reason for denying permission'

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The Delhi police has cited "provocative" speeches made by religious and political leaders, including Baba Ramdev and Sadhvi Ritambara, as the main reason for cancelling permission to the yoga guru's protest at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

The police also said Baba Ramdev and his associates refused to accept the letter cancelling permission for his camp, daring senior officials to take action.

Baba Ramdev made a provocative speech in which he said his protest will end only with his death or if 1.25 crore people asked him to do so, the police said.

The police said the organiser -- Bharat Swabhiman Trust -- had sought permission for a yoga session for 5,000 people from June 1 for 20 days but the numbers swelled to over 25,000 by June 3 midnight.

Baba Ramdev and his followers were sitting on a protest against corruption at the maidan from where the police evicted them on Saturday night after cancelling permission for the agitation, citing a threat to the yoga guru's life.

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Image: Baba Ramdev

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'Yoga camp turned into a rally'

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In the first information report filed at Kamla Market police station following the police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan, the police said though the organisers had sought permission only for 5,000 people, they had installed 800 toilets, numerous booster pumps, and set up a 40-bed hospital inside the maidan.

"On June 4 morning, the yoga session led by Baba Ramdev went on for three hours and it took the colour of a rally due to the presence of Sadhvi Ritambara, Maulana Kalbe Jabbar, Akali Dal leader Omkar Singh Thapar and other religious and political leaders and these leaders made provocative speeches.

"They urged people to intensify their protest and said if their demands were not met, they will not move out of the maidan. Keeping their activities in view, senior officials held consultations and decided to cancel the permission for the camp," Surinder Jeet Kaur, the station house officer of Kamla Market police station, said in the FIR.

Around 12:30 am, Kaur said, the police went to meet Ramdev and his associates Acharya Balkrishna, Acharya Virendra Vikram and Swami Sampoornanand, who refused to accept the letter cancelling the permission.

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Image: Protestors at Ramlila Maidan
Photographs: Reuters
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'Ramdev asked women to form his inner security cordon'

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Ramdev, who leaped from the stage, addressed his followers through a public address system and asked women to form his inner security cordon while youngsters formed the outer one. He also asked the elderly to move to the back, the FIR said.

As more and more followers gathered near him, the police said, he returned to the stage and continued his speech. In between, his followers used bricks and stones, flower pots and lathis, iron rods and fire-fighter sprays and indulged in violence.

None of his followers listened to police requests to stay calm, Kaur said, adding that the police resorted to using water cannons to disperse the crowd which had some effect. However, they gathered together with "renewed vigour" and began pelting stones.

Though a portion of the right side of the stage caught fire, it was brought under control, she said, adding that the police resorted to lobbing teargas shells which resulted in the crowd dispersing.

The violence also resulted in damage to some vehicles, furniture, electronic and electric equipment in the premises. "The followers and office-bearers of Bharat Swabhiman Trust gathered there and using dangerous substances attacked police and obstructed the functioning of public servants, leading to injuries to policemen. Their act also resulted in causing damage to private and public property. They created a riot-like situation in a public place," Kaur said.


Image: Ramdev supporters scatter after the police fired teargas cannisters at them
Photographs: Reuters
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