Ramdev supporter dies, politics begins

Sep 27, 2011, 08:26 IST | Sriraj Ray

51-year-old Rajbala was injured during the police crackdown on protesters at Ramlila Maidan, BJP blames home minister

51-year-old Rajbala was injured during the police crackdown on protesters at Ramlila Maidan, BJP blames home minister

The body of 51-year-old Rajbala remained in an ambulance for nearly four hours outside GB Pant Hospital as her relatives refused to take her without a medical report. Rajbala was admitted at GB Pant Hospital after a police crackdown against yoga guru Ramdev's fast at Ramlila Maidan in June. She had been there for the past four months and succumbed to injuries Monday morning. 

Grief-struck: (Above) Sons of Rajbala at GB Pant Hospital, in New Delhi,
on Monday. Pics/Subhash Barolia

"She was in critical condition. She breathed her last at the neurosurgery department ICU at 10:25 am," doctors informed. "Doctors are saying that they will send the medical report to Delhi police and we should pick it up from Kamla Market Police station. We have informed them that we shall not leave without the medical documents," an angry Rakesh Malik, daughter-in-law of Rajbala, said. The family finally left at 6 pm in the evening. They were provided with a medical summary by the hospital authorities and given a written assurance that the medical report will be given to them around 12 pm on Tuesday.

Sorry state
She was admitted on June 4 after the midnight crackdown on Ramdev's supporters, Rajbala, a resident of Gurgaon, underwent surgery and had been on ventilator since then and had become a quadriplegic. Her condition was very critical from day one and her vital parameters were being maintained with increased pharmacological support, doctors said. Ramdev and Rajbala's family member had alleged that she was injured during the police lathicharge. However, police had denied that there was a lathicharge and claimed that she was injured in a stampede during eviction of protesters.

Grieving family blamed Delhi police for her death. "She died due to police action. Everybody knows why police took such action against the protest. We want our mother back. Can they do that? We don't need compensation. What do you expect from the government when the prime minister or any other senior leaders have not uttered a single word to us on this," she alleged. "My mother-in-law told the police and us that she was beaten up by the police. Even in the MLC report, all the injuries were not reported. There is a conspiracy," she alleged.  "Her sacrifice will not go in vain and millions of her brothers and sisters will continue to fight for the cause," Baba Ramdev said in a statement.

"Rajbala was injured in a stampede and not in lathicharge. She has not told doctors at the hospital about any police lathicharge and instead had told them that she got injured in a stampede," Dharmendra Kumar, special commissioner (law and order) said. Kumar said the medical report they received from the hospital also noted that she was suffering from gross osteoporosis. "In this condition, bones become brittle. Even a small injury could become serious in this case," he said. Dr Shashi Guru Raja, medical superintendent, GB Pant Hospital said, "Today morning the patient developed cardiac dysfunction leading to cardiac arrest which did not respond to all resuscitative efforts and the patient was declared dead at 10:25 am."

''Past imperfect'
Police sources said Rajbala was earlier named with others in an FIR of murder of one Neetu Solanki in 2008. She was chargesheeted under Sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of IPC. She was also named in another FIR in 1999 in a case of rioting in Gurgaon, sources said.

Chief Minister offers help
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said that her government would explore all possibilities of helping Rajbala. "She was a resident of Haryana. We had provided her treatment. Health minister AK Walia will meet her family members and will see how we can help them," she said. She was replying to queries by reporters after a brief cabinet meeting at Delhi secretariat. She evaded direct questions on allegations by Ramdev and Rajbala's family, who have blamed police for her death. "You should ask Delhi police," is all she said to such inquiries.

Guilty must be punished: Sushma Swaraj
Taking Rajbala's death issue to another level, BJP leader Sushma Swarja  has demanded that a murder case be registered against Delhi police. Late in the evening, the BJP leader tweeted, "It is a sad commentary on our police functioning... Kapil Sibal had claimed that not a single lathi was used and no one was injured in Ramlila Maidan...Will he now explain to the nation?," she said in her tweets. "I demand that a murder case be registered against Delhi police and the guilty must be punished," she said, further adding that she would attend Rajbala's funeral on Tuesday.

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