New Delhi, Jun 5 : Delhi Police today claimed that there were intelligence inputs about threat to the life of Baba Ramdev, prompting it to disrupt the yoga guru's congregation at Ramlila grounds here.
Dharmendra Kumar, Special Commissioner (Law and Order), denied that police had used batons on protestors but admitted that teargas shells were lobbed to disperse them after being attacked with bricks, flower pots and sticks.
He said the yoga guru will not be allowed to enter the capital till the situation was conducive for his visit.
Giving details of the operation that has come under sharp criticism, Kumar said the police had requested Ramdev to call off his agitation as the permission was withdrawn last night.
“Our officers had gone to Ramlila Maidan to inform him about the intelligence inputs about threat to his life and that of another person, whose identity we are withholding now. We told him there is a threat and he should be careful as an attempt on his life could take place,” Kumar told reporters.
He said they received specific intelligence input yesterday morning that the yoga guru could be targeted at the Ramlila Maidan as it was a “suitable place” to do so.
“A large number of people were coming to the protest site. Our input was that it was aimed at creating trouble among communities. From states, we were getting information that there was mobilisation of people,” he said. Had the yoga guru cooperated and come out “gracefully”, the “skirmishes and stampede” which resulted in injuries to 39 protestors and 29 policemen could have been avoided, the officer said.
Kumar claimed that the “violence unleashed by Ramdev's followers” were premeditated as bricks and baseball bats were stocked behind the stage and other places in the ground. He said police recovered a number of baseball bats from there.
He said they had given permission to conduct only a yoga camp at the Maidan whose capacity was only 30,000. But, he said, Ramdev himself had told his meeting that over 50,000 people were present there and it could swell to over one lakh.
The officer also denied allegations that police misbehaved with women protestors, saying that none of the television channels had any such footage.
He said 1000-1200 police personnel were deployed to handle the midnight operation.
Congress sources said Delhi and Mumbai were put on high alert following the killing of terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri. They said the venue of the protest falls in a sensitive area and had there been any untoward incident, the blame would have come on the party.
They also said while seeking permission for conducting yoga camp, Ramdev had assured that loudspeakers will not be used. They said he had not kept that promise. PTI