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Other than the brave, some usual suspects

New Delhi, Dec. 23: The involvement of Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal and the BJP’s youth wing ABVP forced the government to fall back on a strategy tougher than deploying reason and police were asked to use force to clear the streets.

Intelligence inputs suggested anti-social elements had penetrated the protests.

Some Congress leaders felt politically motivated forces were also at play in some pockets. Congress leaders pointed to Ramdev’s remark that “Sonia Gandhi was siding with rapists despite being a woman”.

Ramdev’s men had taken over Jantar Mantar by the afternoon while Kejriwal’s supporters were present in full force at India Gate.

The fleet of vehicles owned by Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth and Bharat Swabhiman Trust were ferrying activists to the turmoil zone.

Some farmers present at Jantar Mantar said they were brought in from Haryana by Ramdev’s men to protest against Sonia.

One activist of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO run by Kailash Satyarthi who was earlier with Swami Agnivesh, was heard telling a group of boys not to relent till Sonia and Sheila Dikshit were thrown out of power.

But many apolitical youths, too, took part in the protests. Some objected to the presence of Ramdev and Kejriwal in the movement. A group of Delhi University students said at India Gate that they were not against any government or any party in particular and only wanted tough action against criminals.

The level of expectations among the protesters was so high that many insisted the government could hang the culprits as and when it wanted.

“Why the delay, bring them here and hang them,” some youngsters screamed both at Jantar Mantar and India Gate.

Pointed out that there was a judicial system in place, most of them said Sonia was ruling the country and she could order summary executions. A boy, who was studying political science at Delhi University, said: “If Sonia wants, death penalty can be given in two minutes!”

Most of the boys and girls felt Delhi police were thoroughly corrupt and they protected criminals, while politicians were not concerned with the day-to-day problems faced by the common people.

“Where do you see this police on normal days?” was the most common question as boys and girls braved water cannons and batons. Many wondered aloud who among them had attacked the police and indulged in violence.