Limping lady in salwar turns into running yogi

Baba Ramdev in a salwar kameez, presumably the one in which he was trying to flee from the Ramlila grounds, at a news conference in Haridwar on Sunday morning. (AP)

[৪ তারিখ মাঝরাতের পর পুলিশ যখন রামলীলা ময়দান প্রায় খালি করে দিয়েছে এবং পদপিষ্ট হয়ে যেসব ভক্তরা আহত হয়েছিলেন তাদের সাহায্য করতে ব্যস্ত, সে সময়ে তারা দেখেন সাদা সালোয়ার কামিজ পরা এক আহত মহিলা অন্য দুই মহিলার কাঁধে ভর করে চলেছেন। তিনি খুঁড়িয়ে হাঁটছিলেন। পুলিশ্ আহত ‘মহিলা’র সাহায্য লাগবে কি না জানতে চাইতেই তারা ছুটতে শুরু করেন। সন্দেহ হওয়াতে পুলিশ তাদের তাড়া করে ধরে ফেলে। কান্ড দেখে হাসবে না রাগ করবে ভেবে পায়না পুলিশ।
“আমরা নিজের চোখ কে বিশ্বাস করতে পারিনি। সালোয়ার-কামিজে রামদেব?” দি টেলিগ্রাফ পত্রিকাকে বল্লেন স্পেশ্যাল কমিশনার ধমের্ন্দ্র কুমার। …. পুরো নাটকটা পড়ুন, ছবি দেখুন দি টেলিগ্রাফ পত্রিকায় – ৬-৬-২০১১ ]


IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI

New Delhi, June 5: The yogis of legend might have vanished into thin air. But Baba Ramdev decided to do a Bonnie Prince Charlie, who fled a battle zone in a woman’s disguise two-and-a-half centuries ago.

Wearing a white salwar and kameez, his face covered with a white dupatta, Ramdev tried to dodge past police around 4.15am today, after hiding among women supporters at the Ramlila grounds during the three-hour, late-night crackdown.

But the bearded Ramdev was less successful than the baby-faced Stuart prince: the yoga practitioner panicked and gave himself away by trying to flee when a group of unsuspecting cops approached him.

By then, the police had evicted most of the crowd from the protest venue and was trying to help those injured in the stampede following a stone-versus-tear gas battle. Three policemen saw the disguised Ramdev “limping” along the road outside the grounds, his arms around two women supporters, a senior officer said.

Thinking “the lady” had suffered a leg injury, the policemen asked the trio to get into an ambulance parked nearby. But instead of replying, the Baba began walking faster and, when the cops persisted with their request, broke into a run.

Within seconds, the now-suspicious cops had chased him down. When they pulled the dupatta off, they didn’t know whether to be shocked or amused.

“We couldn’t believe it at first. It was Ramdev in salwar kameez!” special commissioner Dharmendra Kumar told The Telegraph.

The Baba was taken to the airport in a car and flown to Dehra Dun, from where he was driven to his ashram in Haridwar. He will not be allowed into the capital till the situation turns “conducive”, Kumar said.

The special commissioner claimed that had Ramdev cooperated “gracefully” and allowed himself to be led out of the protest zone, it would have averted the stampede that left 39 protesters and 29 policemen injured.

Police sources said the operation was planned meticulously and carried out by over 5,000 personnel led by Delhi police chief B.K. Gupta. “The home ministry had asked us in the evening to go ahead and evict Ramdev and his supporters,” an officer said.

The most crucial point was choosing the right time. There were between 30,000 and 50,000 people at the venue, and any misstep could have snowballed into a law-and-order crisis.

“So, at a high-level meeting, senior officers decided to start the operation after midnight since many among the crowd would be asleep by then,” the source said.

Gupta led the first team of officers to the ground around 11.50pm and, after inspecting the exit and entry gates, green-lighted the swoop. A police contingent, already on alert, arrived and surrounded the ground by 12.50am.

Some of the officers climbed on the dais where Ramdev was sleeping. His supporters were asleep on the ground.

“We woke him and told him there was an intelligence report about a threat to his life. We asked him to leave with his supporters but he wouldn’t budge,” an officer said.

Ramdev was told the police had withdrawn permission for his yoga programme and he must wind up his show, but he grabbed the microphone and began yelling to the crowd.

“When we caught him by the wrists, he asked some of his supporters standing near the dais to form a ring. He then jumped off the stage, his supporters cushioning the fall,” the officer said.

The crowd formed a three-tier ring, with women on the outer two tiers, to hold the police off. An hour’s battle began, with many of the protesters hurling stones and bricks at the force, which replied with tear gas. A minor stampede set in.

By this time, Ramdev and some women supporters had hid behind the small, makeshift enclosure at the back of the dais from where the Baba used to talk to the government negotiators over the phone.

He stayed there for about two hours before slipping out in disguise after most of the protesters had been evicted, some loaded into buses and dropped off at various locations outside Delhi.

The police today clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 in central Delhi, anticipating protests by Ramdev’s supporters. A case has been registered against unknown persons for rioting, preventing public servants from discharging their duties, and damaging public property.

Special commissioner Kumar denied that the police had used batons on the protesters.

“We only fired tear gas shells after the crowd began throwing stones. They had brought the bricks and the stones along with them and had stacked them beside the shamiana. They also attacked the policemen with flowerpots,” he said.

Courtesy: The Telegraph, June 6, 2011

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