SC seeks Ramdev’s Trust response on midnight crackdown

SC seeks Ramdev’s Trust response on midnight crackdown

New Delhi: With the Delhi police refuting allegations of using force in the mid-night crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters at Ramlila Maidan, the Supreme Court on Monday sought to know the version of the incident from the yoga guru-run Bharat Swabhiman Trust which had organised the event.

A vacation bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and A K Patnaik issued notice to the Ramdev-run Trust asking it to respond to the police claim that teargas shells were lobbed to disperse the crowd only after it turned violent and started pelting stones.

“You have made several allegations against them. Let them also respond to it," the bench told the Delhi police counsel U U Lalit.

The bench also asked the Centre to file its reply as the city police, to justify its midnight swoop, had cited some intelligence input that there was threat to Ramdev’s life and posted the matter for further hearing on 11 July .

Justifying the action taken by the cops on the intervening night of 4 and 5 June 2011, senior advocate Lalit denied that city police used any force to evict the yoga guru’s followers and submitted that video clipping and photographs have been placed before the court to substantiate its claim.

On it, the bench said, “We would go through the documents. Let us see it and find out the truth".

The bench also declined advocate Ajay Agarwal’s plea to implead him in the case and said, “Whenever we would require your assistance, we would hear you. But right now, we are not hearing you."

In an affidavit, the city police had earlier told the court that no force was used against the protesters but only eight teargas shells had been lobbed to disperse Ramdev’s supporters after they turned violent and started pelting stones.

Justifying its action of evicting the crowd from the field, police had said the authorities had given permission to Ramdev to use the ground only to hold a yoga camp.

It had said that instead of holding a yoga camp, Ramdev was “instigating" the crowd during his fast on the issue of corruption and black money at the ground where more than 20,000 people had gathered.

Delhi Police had filed its affidavit following a direction by the apex court which had taken suo motu note of the police crackdown and had directed it to explain why it resorted to such an action against Ramdev and his supporters.

The apex court had expressed concern over the “police atrocities" and use of “brutal force" to disperse the “innocent" people gathered at the site.

The court had also taken note of articles and reports published in national dailies depicting the “sad state of affairs and brutality of the state in dealing with its innocent citizens".