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Midnight crackdown: SC raps Delhi police, Baba Ramdev

NEW DELHI: Coming down heavily on the State and Delhi police, the Supreme Court today ordered prosecution of police personnel involved in the midnight crackdown on the yoga guru Ramdev and his supporters in June last year saying it was a strike at the foundation of democracy.

Observing that it was a glaring example of trust deficit between the people and the government, the court also blamed Ramdev, who was on an anti-corruption fast along with his followers at Ramlilla Maidan, for the violence.

It was a reflection of the might of the State which struck at the foundatiuon of democracy, a Bench of justices B. S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said while reading out the operative part of the judgement.

The court said that it was a case of police excess and the police who are meant to bring peace had themselves breached the peace.

The Bench further observed that the police and the State could have avoided that tragic incident in which one person died and several others were injured.

"It is a glaring example of trust deficit between the people governing and the people being governed," the Bench said, adding that police action is meant to bring peace but they breached peace themselves.

Blaming both Ramdev and the Delhi police, the court directed criminal prosecution of police personnel and Ramdev's supporters who had behaved violently during the incident.

The Bench said that the policemen had assaulted sleeping victims. There was abuse of power by the Delhi police and fundamental rights of people were violated, the Bench said.

The court awarded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of Raj Bala, who had died in the incident.

Twenty-five per cent of the amount would come from Ramdev's trust.

The Bench also awarded a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those who suffered grievous injuries in the incident and Rs 25,000 for those with simple injuries.

The apex court passed the verdict after taking suo motu cognisance of media reports showing brutality of police action against the sleeping followers of Ramdev, including women and children at Ramlila Maidan on the midnight of June 4-5 last year during his anti-corruption agitation. The Bench had reserved the verdict on January 20.

Ramdev had alleged that the police action was carried out on the instructions of their political masters and demanded action against all people who had directed the crackdown.

Ramdev was agitating along with his followers against corruption and demanding that the UPA government must make sincere efforts to bring back black money illegally parked in foreign bank accounts by tax evaders.

The Delhi police, however, claimed Ramdev had instigated his followers to indulge in violence, forcing the police to act at that time of the night. — PTIBack




Left holds big rally in Kolkata

Kolkata: The Left parties in West Bengal have joined ranks to protest against the killing of two Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders, allegedly by members of the ruling TMC.

Pradip Tah, who earlier represented Burdwan North in the Assembly, and the party's district committee member Kamal Gayen were lynched in the clash in Dewandighi in Burdwan district yesterday.

"The Trinamool men attacked a peaceful procession brought out by our partymen in support of the Feb 28 all-India strike called by various trade unions. The Trinamool men used lethal weapons and killed the two leaders," CPI-M state secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty said.

However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has rejected the charge. "It is a result of internal clash (within CPI-M)," she said.

Today, the Left parties in the states, led by the CPI(M) took to the streets in Kolkata to protest against the killing.



Avalanches hit Army posts in J&K

Srinagar: At least nine Indian Army soldiers were killed in two avalanche tragedies in the upper reaches of North Kashmir. The first of the two avalanche hit the brigade headquarters of the Army in Dawar village if Gurez subdivision of Bandipora district. The soldiers stationed there were caught unawares, giving them no chance to escape.

Lt Col JS Brar, spokesperson of the Army's Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said, "So far, six bodies have been recovered from the avalanche debris. The toll is feared to rise as more troopers are believed to be under the avalanche."

J&K Army camps hit by avalanche, at least 9 deadMany more soldiers are feared trapped below the snow. A massive operation has been launched to look for survivors.




Italian ship to be searched

Kochi: The Kerala Police is expected to conduct a search operation on the Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, which has been anchored in the harbour here in connection with the killing of two Indian fishermen by the ship’s guards in high seas last week.

The Kerala High Court is also expected to take up the petition filed by the two Italian guards seeking the quashing of the FIR filed against them. The two Italian guards -- Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – have submitted that Kerala Police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond its territorial waters.

The marines, suspected to have shot dead the fishermen, took the legal recourse after they were arrested by the state police capping days of hectic negotiations between Indian and Italian officials on the issue of submitting them to Indian authorities.

Italy has been maintaining that the incident occurred outside Indian territorial waters and the marines’ action was taken assuming the fishing vessel to be carrying pirates.

The court has also admitted a petition by the family of one of the deceased fishermen seeking Rs 1 crore.





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