New Delhi: The police pounced on yoga guru Baba Ramdev past midnight and detained him after firing tear gas shells and resorting to lathicharge on his supporters ending the day-old definite hunger strike on black money issue.

The police came into action after the government and Ramdev accused each-other on Saturday night of betrayal of mutual understanding.

The drama that broke the midnight calm in the Ramlila Maidan a little after 1 am unfolded when a large number of police personnel descended at the protest venue where Ramdev was demanding immediate action to bring back black money stashed in foreign tax havens.

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READ MORE:CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

After day break, police cleared all the remnants of Baba's support by evicting his followers from the protest site amidst stiff resistance.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Baba Ramdev was detained as he was leaving the site.

Later sources said Ramdev was allowed to go out of Delhi and probably he was headed to Haridwar.

Earlier, Home Secretary G K Pillai had maintained that he was not arrested or detained, as earlier stated by Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta, who also rushed to the spot.

Gupta said there were some security concerns and due to government not extending permission, yoga camp has been cancelled.

“He said Ramdev's supporters indulged in stone throwing. Police did not use force except  using tear gas shells ,” he added.

Ramdev's key aide, Tijarawala alleged that he has been ‘kidnapped’ by police and he feared for his life. The spokesman appealed to the Chief Justice of India to intervene and ensure Ramdev's safety and release.

The police withdrew  permission for his yoga camp and imposed prohibitory orders on him after what a senior police official said a political decision was taken to end the protest.

The government and Ramdev had indulged in a blame game on Saturday night. Union Minister Kapil Sibal,who had negotiated with Ramdev, made public a letter written by his aide that the fast would be called off on Saturday evening if government gave a written assurances on a legislation to bring back the black money from abroad and stringent punishment to offenders.

46-year-old Ramdev hit back saying government has indulged in "betrayal and cheating" and vowed not to talk to Sibal ever in his life. He said he would go by the word of the Prime Minister.

After accusations and counter accusation, the government on late Saturday night sent a fresh letter of assurance on his demands and appealed to him to withdraw his fast.

In the midnight drama, that was enacted live in front of television cameras, Ramdev's supporters who were woken up from their sleep, rose in protest against the police action.

Some elderly people swooned due to the impact of tear gas shelling by the police.

Some of his supporters have been admitted into a nearby government hospital for treatment of injuries they allegedly suffered during the police action. Chaos and commotion prevailed when the police, including a contingent of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), arrived at the venue and approached Ramdev, who was sleeping on the specially-erected rostrum from where he addressed his supporters throughout the day.

As news spread that Ramdev may be arrested, a posse of supporters, including women, formed a human cordon around him making the job of police difficult to approach him.

Some supporters carried Baba Ramdev, who jumped from the dias, on their shoulders and that was the last that he was seen on television screens before he was removed from the place and detained.

In his address to the supporters, Ramdev appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to allow him to be arrested during daytime.

"Why  I am being arrested without any information, too at night? I appeal to people to maintain calm...," Ramdev told the gathering.


He also appealed the people of Delhi to come in large numbers to the protest government's move.

A section of supporters threw pots, tripods and mike stands on cops to prevent them from coming close to the stage.

The crowd dispersed from the stage after police fired tear gas shells. People were seen vacating the dais and the surrounding area after tear gas enveloped the whole area.

The supporters also claimed that Baba alongwith Acharya Bala Krishnan and Jaydeep Arya, head of Bharat Swabhiman Manch, were arrested.

They also said Swami Sampoornanand, who is second in command, has taken charge of the agitation and has asked people to gather at Jantar Mantar.

Banners were torn and mattresses and furniture lay all over the Ramlila Maidan that resembled a war zone after the police action.

The Ramlila ground was booked for 20 days by Baba Ramdev for yoga camp but was turned as the venue for his "Satyagraha" movement.

Organisers were asking people not to leave the pandal and continue the protest. Some of them, associated with Ramdev's movement, contacted their associates in respective states to protest against police action.

Some of the supporters even refused to leave the venue saying they will not move till they get a direction to do so from Baba.

Chronology of Ramdev's 'satyagraha'

Baba Ramdev's call for 'satyagraha' against black money ended abruptly after police detained him and shelled tear gas on his followers.

Here’s the timeline of events leading to police action on his camp

June 1: Arrival of Yoga guru from Ujjain at Delhi Airport. Four senior Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, P K Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay, meet and discuss issues with him on eradication of corruption and black money.

June 2: Back-channel talks held between the two sides.

June 3: Baba Ramdev holds talks with Sibal and Sahay. Both sides claim consensus on most of the issues. Ramdev on Friday evening announces his decision to go ahead with the hunger strike. Government releases item-wise response to Ramdev's demands.

June 4: Fast begins at Ramlila Maidan. On Saturday evening, government makes public a letter from Ramdev's camp that the hunger strike will be called off at mid-day if government honoured the commitments. Ramdev hits back calling government's action a betrayal. Both sides harden positions. Government sends a letter to Ramdev.

Mid night of June 4-5: Police swoops down on the protest site a little after 1 am, catching Ramdev and his supporters unaware.

Police resorts to lathicharge and firing of tear gas shells, creating commotion and chaos. Elderly followers swoon. Thirty people with injuries admitted to hospital.

2:10 am: Ramdevappeals to followers to maintain calm.

2:30 am: Ramdev is carried on shoulders by followers. A little later Ramdev is not seen at the venue.

4-4:30 am: Protesters evicted.

JPN/Agencies