Did Centre fear law and order backlash over Ramdev fast?

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New Delhi, Jun 6: A war of words have surfaced between Baba Ramdev and his supporters and the Union Government who has been caught in the wrong side of things, following the midnight crackdown at the Ram Lila grounds on many innocent women, children and others.

Reports have emerged that both the Union Home Ministry and the Delhi Police had discussed on an action plan that included the eviction and cancellation of permissions for Baba Ramdev's campaign a week prior to the midnight raid on Jun 5. A report by the Indian Express, which managed to access confidential letters written by Home Secretary G K Pillai and B S Brar, Delhi"s Special Commissioner (intelligence) to the Cabinet Secretary on May 28 claimed that the government was aware of the massive preparations for the protest gathering intended for 30,000 people while permission was sought only for 5000.

The permission was granted to conduct a gathering for a Yog Shivir at the Ram Lila grounds and a dharna at the Jantar Mantar. Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar was given the rights to cancel the event on account of the same. The proposed Jantar Mantar dharna was permitted for 200 people.

Showing full awareness of the activities of the Ramdev camp and the agitation that was gaining steam with time, the Home Secretary in his letter had issued a warning to the Centre about the fact that both the Delhi Unit of the Bharat Swabhiman Manch and the Patanjali Yoga Samiti had called for and publicized a “Bhrastachar Mitao Satyagraha" event at the Ram Lila maidan in spite of getting permission for a shivir and dharna with no permit for a fast. The Haryana wing of the two organisations too had announced a “major struggle against corruption and black money" during the course of Ramdev's fast.

The officials had attached the pamphlets used to publicize the event togeather with the letter. The Home Secretary has been quoted as saying, “It is the considered opinion of the MHA that it would be better to allow Baba Ramdev to go ahead with the Yoga Shivir at the Ramlila Grounds. However, no permission should be given for any dharna or fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar as it would be difficult to control the crowds there....in case Baba Ramdev converts the Yoga Shivir into a satyagrah or fast-unto-death at the Ramlila grounds a view can be taken thereafter after assessing the local situation."

With the Home Ministry following a wait-and-watch policy, the letter added, “It is, therefore, suggested that permission given at Jantar Mantar for holding dharna/ fast-unto-death should be cancelled. In case Baba Ramdev decides to march to Jantar Mantar on June 4 with his followers they could be detained and contained at the Ramlila ground itself. A dharna at Ramlila ground could be better managed and controlled."

The Delhi Police Special Commissioner had also sounded warning earlier when they found that tents were being erected for an estimated 30,000 people and stated that “their actual intention is to sit on indefinite fast against corruption...because of the free Yoga Camp he has the ability to attract 25000/35000 persons to Ramlila grounds. However, his committed followers are about 3000 who may join him for a prolonged dharna."

Their suggestion in writing to the Cabinet Secretary read, “One option would be to cancel the permission at both Jantar Mantar as well as Ramlila ground..." But this, he followed, may lead to people attempting to converge at Ramlila Maidan on their own and may lead to “skirmishes all over the city and at various borders and may attract wide media publicity..."

According to Delhi Special Commissioner (Intelligence), BS Brar had called this a “better option" to cancel the Jantar Mantar plan and proceed to conduct the yoga training camp at Ram Lila maidan. He also suggested, “In case Baba Ramdev decides to march to Jantar Mantar on June 4, with his followers they can be contained and detained at Ramlila ground itself. In case he decides to sit on dharna/fast unto death at Ramlila Grounds itself, we can defer taking any action till his followers thin down and then take appropriate action."

OneIndia News

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