Woman crippled at Ramdev fast dies

Raj Bala, seriously injured during the police crackdown on an anti-corruption hunger strike led by Baba Ramdev succumbed to her injuries; family blames police

A 51-year-old woman, who slipped into coma after suffering a spinal injury in police action to break up a meeting of yoga guru Baba Ramdev in June, died yesterday after being hospitalised for 114 days.

Raj Bala, who suffered a crippling spinal injury on the intervening night of June 4-5 at the Ramlila ground here, passed away at 10.25 am at the GB Pant Hospital following cardiac arrest, doctors said.

She was the most seriously injured among the 100 Ramdev supporters who suffered a variety of wounds after Delhi police used batons and fired tear gas to disperse the thousands from the ground.

Rakesh Malik, the victim's daughter-in-law, said that Raj Bala's condition had been deteriorating in recent days.
She said the funeral will take place in Butana in Haryana and the yoga guru would attend it.

Police brutality? Raj Bala was the most seriously injured among the 100 Ramdev supporters who suffered a variety of wounds after Delhi police used batons to disperse them. File pics

"He has been in touch with us. He will also be present at the funeral," Malik said.

In a statement, Baba Ramdev condoled Raj Bala's death and described it as an "irreparable loss to the whole organisation, agitation and nation".

Distraught and angry, Malik blamed the police for the demise of Raj Bala, who lived in Gurgaon.
"It happened because of the police... We all know on whose authority police took action. The whole country knows why this happened," she added.

She said the family would get together in a few days and decide whether they should file a suit against the administration.

But she made it clear that they were not hungry for compensation money. "We don't want any compensation. We wanted our mother, can they give her back," she asked.

She expressed disgust that the authorities left the elderly woman to fend for herself after reducing her to a cripple.

"Four months have gone by, what has the government done? We didn't even get a word of sympathy from the government," she said.

Raj Bala was one of the thousands who had thronged the Ramlila ground at Ramdev's fast when police barged in. Ramdev was subsequently pushed out of Delhi. However, police denied using batons and said Raj Bala was injured in a stampede. Ramdev said, "It is the ultimate sacrifice... Her sacrifice will not go in vain and millions of her brothers and sisters will continue to fight for the cause for which she sacrificed (her life)."

Ramdev's supporters are also planning a special puja for her this evening.

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