‘Police crackdown on Ramdev was decided in advance’

New Delhi : The Supreme Court was told Friday that the Delhi Police operation for evicting yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila ground on the night of June 4/5 was taken in advance at the instance of Home Minister P. Chidambram.

“They did to Baba Ramdev exactly what they did to Anna Hazare two months down the line,” amicus curiae Rajiv Dhawan told a bench of Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar, referring to a statement by the home minister saying that he (Ramdev) would be thrown out if he does not agree with the government.

The apex court took suo motu cognizance of the incident after counsel Ajay Agarwal moved a petition seeking its intervention. Though the court declined to entertain his petition, it took suo motu cognizance of the police crackdown.

Dhawan told the court that “this was one of the huge campaigns that the government wanted to get rid of. It feared that it may go out of hand”.

“A decision was taken that Baba Ramdev would not be allowed to organise any protest or undertake any fast-unto-death at Ramlila ground and that if he persisted in his efforts to do so, he would be directed to remove himself from Delhi,” Dhawan said quoting from a press release issued by Home Minister Chidambram on June 8.

Dhawan told the court that the decision to remove Ramdev and his supporters was taken but was kept in abeyance since the government was talking to him (Ramdev). But the moment the talks broke down, the police was asked to enforce the decision.

“Ultimately, when talks failed or he went back on his words, police were told to enforce the decision,” he said.

Slamming the covert manner in which government acted, Dhawan said: “Sometimes I believed that it was only the CIA or FBI which did such covert actions but now I realize that even our government is capable of covert operations.”

At this Justice Chauhan observed: “If you are willing to lead this kind of agitation then you should be prepared to face such situations provided they were within the law.”

“Baba Ramdev has a big following. He is not just a yoga guru and therefore he is a threat to the government,” Dhawan told the court, while contesting the police claim on the large number of people expected to be present on the next day.

“If numbers were there, they were still within the capacity,” he added.

The court will continue with the hearing on Jan 6, 2012.

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