Civil society activists criticise police action at Ramlila Grounds

June 05, 2011 07:32 am | Updated November 17, 2021 01:26 am IST - New Delhi

Supporters of Baba Ramdev on the dais after the police entered Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday night. Photo: PTI

Supporters of Baba Ramdev on the dais after the police entered Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday night. Photo: PTI

Strongly condemning the police action against Baba Ramdev, civil rights activist Anna Hazare on Sunday termed it as “strangulation of democracy” and said civil society will launch protests throughout the country to “teach government a lesson“.

Mr. Hazare said he will hold consultations with other civil society activists on the future course of action.

His associates Shanti Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh also criticised the police action with the former Law Minister calling it an Emergency—like situation and demanding resignation of the Prime Minister.

However, Swami Agnivesh was equally critical of Baba Ramdev saying he should have called off the fast once the government gave him assurances on his demands. But instead he instigated his followers to continue the agitation and innocent men and women were attacked by the police.

Comparing the government’s action to that of Emergency in 1975, Mr. Bhushan said it shows to what extent the government can go to protect black money offenders.

Swami Agnivesh criticised the police action saying this kind of brutal lathicharge and tear gas shelling on sleeping followers was condemnable.

'Fishy deal'

He also accused Baba Ramdev for instigating the crowd to stay back and continue with the agitation even after his demands were met.

“But not calling off the agitation and continuing with some provocative speeches were not helpful,” he said, adding the whole thing was based on some fishy deal.

Another activist and Anna Hazare camp follower, Arvind Kejriwal said the action shows this government is drunk with power and the whole country will agitate against this.

He said they would like the Prime Minister to explain as to what was the provocation for such a brutal action.

Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi termed the police action as “absolutely unfair.”

“I don’t think this is the way in which we should have dealt with the people sleeping there (at the maidan) at midnight,” she said.

Ms. Bedi said Baba Ramdev’s movement against corruption and black money concerns “every one in the country.”

”...lathicharging sleeping people is absolutely unethical. The government seems to have run out of patience.

At least, they should have waited till morning and listened to what Baba had to say. Baba was not forcing people to become violent,” she said.

Social activist Medha Patkar described the police action as “inhuman” and “brutal”.

“It only gives an indication of how the government does not know how to handle a non-violent agitation. By this, the government has indicated that it is not serious about dealing with corruption,” she said

Violation of fundamental rights

Justice Santosh Hegde, Lokpal bill drafting committee member, today termed the police action against Baba Ramdev and his supporters here as violation of “fundamental rights of citizens” and said it “brought back memories” of the Emergency.

“Everyone who was peacefully sleeping there was beaten up and thrown out. Quite an amount of brutality could be seen there. I am very very sad and it brings back the memories of June 25—26, 1975,” the Karnataka Lokayukta said.

“This is violation of the fundamental rights of citizens and also a violation of the human rights of the people who were present there. It is the fundamental right of the citizens to gather peacefully to demonstrate and till yesterday nothing untoward had happened which gave room for any suspicion that there may be a law and order problem,” Justice Hegde, a former judge of the Supreme Court, said.

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