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Section 144 withdrawn at Ramlila Maidan

Jun 19, 2011

Section 144 has been withdrawn at Ramlila Maidan. The order clamped on June 4 and prohibiting the assembling of people at the protest hub was used by Delhi Police to justify eviction of Baba Ramdev's supporters on the intervening night of June 4 and 5.

"The prohibitory order issued under section 144 Criminal Procedure Code 1973, in the area of sub-division Kamla Market by the ACP of the area dated 04.06.2011 is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect," the order issued on June 16 states. Senior officers at police headquarters and central district said that after a review of the law and order situation it has been decided that there was no immediate need for another prohibitory order.

Speaking to TOI, senior cops also affirmed that there were no "officially recorded statement" which restrains Baba Ramdev from coming to Delhi at present. "We are yet to officially restrain him from coming to the capital. However, there is an FIR registered against the Ramlila gathering and at least the role of eight people including Ramdev is under probe. We do not want to comment on the investigations right now but we might arrest him if our investigations provide us with proof that he had instigated the public at Ramlila Maidan. At present, he has not been named as an accused in our FIR,'' clarified a senior police officer.

According to the police, as the camp was broken up 72 people were injured, which included 39 civilians and 23 policemen. An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatantar Kumar took suo motu cognizance of the police action against Baba Ramdev, referring to media reports.

Meanwhile, Jantar Mantar, the most favoured spot for crusaders since the late eighties, may soon become inaccessible for them. The Delhi government, in the backdrop of over 1.5 lakh people protesting at Jantar Mantar in 2010 and as many as 12,000 getting detained for breaching the law in the first six months of the year, is mulling over identifying an alternative site for protests.

"It is submitted that as long as the demonstrations are held in the small road space currently being used for this purpose, inconvenience will be faced by people passing through Tolstoy Marg, Jantar Mantar Road, Parliament Street and Jai Singh Road. Besides this, people travelling to their houses and offices located on the said roads as well as Connaught Place will also be inconvenienced.

As a natural corollary, a more convenient location with ample space has to be identified for holding demonstrations in Delhi," read the affidavit, adduced by Standing Counsel for the government Najmi Waziri before a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. He was responding to a petition by the residents of the Dhawandeep RWA, which had sought relief from the noise generated by agitations.