Midnight crackdown at Ramlila:SC seeks explanation from police

"Explain whether the use of force was justified? What were the circumstance which led to the action and why the police could not wait till the morning to ask the people to leave the venue," said a bench comprising justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar.

The court sought the response from the Delhi Police by Friday.

The remarks were made by the Bench when advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Bharat Swabhiman Trust headed by Ramdev, was making submission that the midnight crackdown on June 4-5 was an attempt crush the peaceful protest.

He compared the incident with the atrocities during the Nazi era in Germany and accused Home Minister P 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 said.

The apex court had on June 6 taken suo motu cognisance of the police action and asked the Centre and Delhi Police to explain why it resorted to such an action in the middle of the night.

Delhi Police, in its affidavit, denied the allegation that it had used force and claimed teargas shells were fired only after Ramdev's supporters turned violent and pelted stones at the police.

Justifying its action, police had said the authorities had granted permission to Ramdev to use the ground only to hold a yoga camp and not for any other purpose.

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