New Delhi, Nov 25: The midnight crackdown on Swami Ramdev and his followers at the Ramlila ground on June 4 night during their protest against corruption was a result of “entire mess” created by them and the yoga guru should take “responsibility” for it, Delhi Police told the Supreme Court today.
The Police also justified the involvement of Home Minister P Chidambaram for maintaining the law and order situation at the venue saying that “malafide” cannot be attributed to him as he was obviously “worried” when the gathering exceeded the capacity and his action was “constitutionally permissible”.
“If you have a capacity of 50,000 and it went up to one lakh at the Ramlila maidan, the Home Minister will be worried and Union Government is expected to maintain the order.
“Does it become malafide if Delhi Police Commissioner is in touch with the Home Minister and Home Secretary?” Delhi Police counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve asked before a bench comprising justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar. He said the organisers of the event had “not given correct impression” as to how the situation of chaos was created.
“What happened was unfortunate and unpleasant but who is responsible,” the senior advocate said while blaming Ramdev and his followers.
“They (Ramdev and his followers) had created the entire mess. The police had gone to Ramdev giving certain reasons as to why the permission for holding protest has to be cancelled and why he has to call off his ongoing programme.
“But he jumped and started running away. Ramdev has to take responsibility. The irresponsible behaviour of those present at the venue were responsible for the so called midnight crackdown. Police was not there to remove the people,” Salve said.
Delhi Police was responding to the sharp reactions of the apex court which on November 21 had asked it to explain the reasons for not waiting till the morning of June 5. Salve said there was a great degree of “bonhomie” between the organisers and the Government before the incident which was refelected from the letter written by Ramdev to the Prime Minister on June 2 or 3.
He questioned the organisers for pointing fingers at Delhi Police and said the same force received accolades from Team Anna which chose the same venue for demonstration.
“After his (Ramdev), Anna Hazare protest took place there. Team Anna was critical of all except Delhi Police,” he said.
Delhi Police explained the circumstances and the sequence of events which formed the basis for using excessive force and lobbing tear gas shells at the Ramlila Ground on the midnight of June 4-5.
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Bharat Swabhiman Trust headed by Ramdev, had alleged that the midnight crackdown was an attempt crush the peaceful protest. He had compared the incident with the atrocities during the Nazi era in Germany and accused Chidambaram of being responsible for the crackdown in which a woman died and several others were injured.
“Are we living under dictatorship or a Nazi rule that Baba Ramdev shall not be allowed to carry out his protest and will not be allowed to stay in Delhi,” Jethmalani had said.