M A I N   N E W S

Ramdev takes govt head-on; held on way to Parliament
High drama in Capital Baba & supporters detained, later freed
Ananya Panda/TNS

New Delhi, August 13
High drama was witnessed in the heart of the National Capital on Monday as Baba Ramdev was detained while leading a massive march from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament to push his demand for bringing back black money stashed abroad. The yoga guru was released along with his supporters later in the evening.

Before Ramdev launched his march, a host of political leaders, including BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Janata Dal (U) chief Sharad Yadav and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, joined him on his podium at Ramlila Maidan.

At 1.15 pm, Ramdev, who was holding a Tricolour, hopped on to an open vehicle and began his march. He was soon joined by his supporters. “The government has become completely dumb and deaf. We have to make them hear us. Now our protest will be outside Parliament. We are not talking about gherao," Ramdev said urging his supporters to join the march. Amidst anti-government slogans, a cavalcade of Ramdev’s supporters attempted to march towards Parliament Street, an area where the police had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144. A large posse of police personnel, including the specialised Rapid Action Force team, had a testing time containing the crowd. With tensions running high, Ramdev’s followers stood defiantly over the Ranjit Singh flyover, which connects Old Delhi to New Delhi, disregarding police announcements.

They were detained and made to board buses stationed there. However, the yoga guru and his followers staged a protest and did not allow the buses to move. Baba’s followers also lay down on the street, disrupting traffic. Ramdev refused to get down from the bus that was to transport him and the supporters away to a make-shift detention centre at Bawana on the outskirts of the Capital. Later, Ramdev and some of his men were taken to the Ambedkar Football stadium close to Ramlila Maidan. The rest of his followers were taken to Bawana, as originally planned.

Today’s high-voltage drama marked the end of the five-day agitation by Ramdev and his followers, but not before the yoga guru launched a vehement attack on the Congress-led UPA government, accusing it of lacking the political will to fight corruption and black money. Addressing the protesters, Gadkari told Ramdev that he was not alone in his fight against the government on the black money issue and his party extended full support to him.

Late in the evening, the police announced that Baba and his supporters have been released. Addressing the supporters at Ambedkar Stadium in the night, Ramdev said they will not leave the place till government provides his supporters food and water.





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