Bansal defends crackdown on Ramdev’s protest

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:24 am IST

Published - June 12, 2011 07:45 pm IST - New Delhi

Empty pandal at Ramlila ground after late night crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters on June 5, 2011. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Empty pandal at Ramlila ground after late night crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters on June 5, 2011. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal defended the post-midnight police crackdown against yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters here and ruled out an apology for the action in which a woman who was seriously injured.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who was one of the interlocutors who held parleys with Baba Ramdev, claimed the police action at Ramlila grounds on June 5 helped prevent casualties.

He scoffed at suggestions that the government was arrogant in dealing with the situation. He also charged Baba Ramdev with going back on his words to end his indefinite fast.

“Apology would be if government or government agency has done something deliberately somewhere,” Mr. Bansal told Karan Thapar in his Devil’s Advocate programme when asked if there would be an apology for the police action in which 51-year-old Gurgaon resident Rajbala, a Baba Ramdev supporter, was critically injured. The action also left several people injured.

Mr. Bansal, at the same time, said he was saddened that Rajbala, would not be able to walk again.

“He (Ramdev) said he would withdraw it (the agitation) in the afternoon of the first day (June 4). And he did not... after a sort of agreement between the government and Baba Ramdev, when we found that the things were getting out of hands, he was sticking to what he had said, the government had to take that action,” Mr. Bansal said.

The minister also sought to defend the decision to crackdown at Ramlila grounds at the middle of the night.

“If police were to reach that place in the morning when Ramdev was exhorting something to people, the reaction of the people would have been very violent...led to at least a 100 deaths,” he said.

Asked why the people at Ramlila grounds were not given a reasonable deadline to leave the venue, Mr. Bansal said midnight was the “only time” when the government could have taken action.

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