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Indian court asks government to explain protest crackdown

Other News Materials 6 June 2011 14:01 (UTC +04:00)
India's Supreme Court Monday sought explanations from the government on the dispersal of a peaceful anti-corruption demonstration led by yoga guru Baba Ramdev.
Indian court asks government to explain protest crackdown

India's Supreme Court Monday sought explanations from the government on the dispersal of a peaceful anti-corruption demonstration led by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, DPA reported.

Police in New Delhi cracked down on a crowd estimated at 50,000 supporting the guru's fast Sunday, injuring about 30 people.

The Supreme Court issued notices to federal home secretary GK Pillai, Delhi police chief BK Gupta and the city's top bureaucrat PK Tripathi seeking clarifications on the use of force and detention.

The officials were told to submit their replies within two weeks.

Ramdev was evicted from the capital. He said he was continuing with the hunger strike at his hermitage in the holy Hindu city of Hardwar, as sporadic anti-government protests were reported from across the country.

"After seeing media reports, the country's top court has taken a stand against the injustice," Ramdev said in Hardwar.

The popular guru staged the protest at the Ramlila grounds on Saturday demanding the government take immediate measures against corruption, including steps to repatriate funds illegally stashed by Indians in banks abroad.

Political parties and civil rights activists criticised the Congress Party-led coalition government for the crackdown, calling it "deplorable and undemocratic." They said police caned and used teargas on women and children.

Ramdev said Indians were tired of corruption scandals in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, including a 39-billion-dollar telecoms deal and allegations of kickbacks at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Leaders from the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party who staged an overnight sit-in protest met with President Pratibha Patil to demand a special parliament session to discuss the crackdown.

Demonstrations in support of Ramdev were reported from the southern city of Bangalore. In another incident, protestors stoned the house of Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who has been critical of Ramdev, calling him a "thug."

Veteran Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare, who led a similar protest against corruption in March, criticized the police action and said he would start a hunger strike in Delhi on Wednesday.

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