Rough notes: Ramdev Baba's arrest at Ramlila

Its 2am and a massive disaster in progress at Ramlila ground. 6 DCPs moved into the area. The latest govt brainwave was apparently to move in the middle of the night and evict Ramdev from Delhi.

Ramdev was sleeping. He has jumped onto stage, crowd furious. People surrounding him, not visible at all. Crowd is picking up bricks and stuff. MASSIVE contingent of police there to evict him forcibly.

Ramdev Baba requesting for peace. Fat chance. Cops in full intent.

I had been tweeting all day about how this is going to get much, much worse before it gets better. Looks like its started.

It is going to be impossible for police to reach him. The crowd is incensed. No shit, Sherlock, you want to arrest a religious leader in front of thousands and thousands who WORSHIP him? Good move. Then they will say Baba Ramdev incited violence?

Police are making attempts to get at him through supporters. It takes no astrologer to predict that this place is going up in flames if he is arrested or evicted. Not that the cops are going to be able to get anywhere near him without extreme force.

Scenes of chaos. Baba calling for calm. Followers pelting stones at police. Police using tear gas shells on the supporters. Over 500 police there, attempting to break through the hundreds of supporters surrounding Baba Ramdev protectively.

Official reason is that the permissions for Baba Ramdev to use that ground was for a Yog Shibir (camp)

This takes our government to a whole new low. Sibal had met him in the evening during the evening and there was a press conference where an agreement to claim the illegal funds abroad as national assets was announced. So let me get this right. Sibal was there to learn yoga?

What bull shit?

This is going to be trouble countrywide by morning. The cops had come there to sneak up and arrest Ramdev while he was sleeping. Within minutes a ground full of sleeping people has turned into this scene straight out of disaster. Thank you Soniaji, we will put it on your termination letter.

Get this right. What is happening here is someone working overtime on a Saturday evening to cancel permissions for a gathering Sibal himself had visited. And, in the middle of the night, a veritable army of cops lands up there to pick up an anti-corruption leader from the middle of the followers. What in the world makes them think that the crowd with the power to bring them to their knees in the day will be happy about being disturbed in the night?

Apparently cops didn’t want media to continue filming. Not news.

2:30 Flames on stage, tear gas firing in the middle of a crowd of thousands. I hope there isn’t a stampede. Shit. Shit. Crowd dispersing, cops pulling down stage. Ramdev missing in the chaos. Apparently he’s been taken away or something.

Interviews with followers. Ramdev Baba called for peace all through and apparently when the tear gassing and action got too intense, quietly went with the cops. Followers really really angry. Hurt women, old people. Damaged media equipment from the Astha channel. One follower uses the interview opportunity to tell the nation “bahiyo kurbani dene ka time aa gaya hai”.

No one knows exactly where he has been taken, apparently he has been taken alone. The original intent seems to be to move quietly in the night and take him out of the city, which obviously is seeming like a massive betrayal right now.

Also the move to use tear gas in such a crowd, fire breaking out, the utter ruthlessness to beat people unnecessarily – women and old people beat as ruthlessly as men – apparently vicious attacks with lathis on people who were not attacking. They had been sleeping a short while before. Some reports of inappropriate touching of women by the cops. Unconscious people being carried off stage.

And so on and on and on…..

No one knows where Baba Ramdev is. Where he has been taken. However, endless interviews make one narrative clear:

  • People were sleeping
  • Surprise attack by cops
  • Baba Ramdev calling out for calm all through
  • Cops used disproportionate force. tear gas, lathi charge in the middle of a crowd with kids and old people. Many people sleeping.
  • It is definitely police who took him away.

Supporters shocked, betrayed, angry, in pain, etc, etc. This is a totally uncalled for attack.

The police commissioner says Baba Ramdev is not detained or arrested, but he is in a safe place, reason for attack was security concern at Ramdev ground.

Home Secretary says Baba Ramdev was given an externment order, and he voluntarily left with police. Latest news is that he is on his way out from Delhi. Possibly to Haridwar(?). If he returns, he will again be taken away.

Note: This is now revised to “been taken into police custody”

Reason for externment order apparently is because of the yoga shibir thing.

Police Commissioner said was a security concern. True. He had it all planned out on a sleeping crowd.

For the record, I had expected this. This is going to get much worse before it gets better.

I think our government is sick. This is right now a gangwar between government and people.