New Delhi,Jun 6 : The Union Home Ministry and the Delhi Police had discussed an action plan, including eviction and cancellation of permissions, against Baba Ramdev's congregations in the capital a full week before the early morning “raid” on June 5, The Indian Express reported.
The newspaper said it has accessed 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, which reveal that the Government was fully aware that grand preparations were being made at the Ramlila Maidan were for an estimated 30,000 people while permission had been granted for only 5,000.
In writing, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar was given the “option” of cancelling the permission given to Baba Ramdev both for holding a dharna (permission was taken only for 200 persons) at Jantar Mantar as well as the Yoga Shivir at Ramlila Maidan.
The Home Secretary's letter had warned the Government that while the Delhi unit of the Bharat Swabhiman Manch and the Patanjali Yoga Samiti had obtained written permission for a Yoga Shivir and dharna (after removing the reference to a fast), the two organisations had jointly distributed leaflets calling for an indefinite “Bhrastachar Mitao Satyagraha” at the Ramlila Maidan. The letter also pointed out to the fact that the Haryana unit of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust had announced a “battle cry” for a “major struggle against corruption and black money” to coincide with Baba Ramdev's indefinite fast.
Both top officials attached copies of pamphlets distributed by Ramdev in their communications to the Cabinet Secretary.
The Home Secretary had advised: “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.”
Thus, the Home Ministry's advice was to follow a wait-and-watch policy. The letter concluded, “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 similarly warned that Baba Ramdev's followers had erected tents which can accommodate 30,000 people and 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.”
His letter to the Cabinet Secretary states, “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...”
This is what Brar said was the “better option”: “to cancel the permission given at Jantar Mantar and permit them to hold the Yoga Training Camp at Ramlila ground. 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.”
The entire episode thus raises the question: if the government was aware about the full-scale satyagraha, then where was the goof-up which led to the midnight violent crackdown on sleeping, unarmed people.