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Girls who ‘shielded’ Baba were told he wants to bless them

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Ananya Bhardwaj,VijaitaSingh,Pritha Chatterjee

Posted: Jun 06, 2011 at 0006 hrs IST

New Delhi Protesters who faced the brunt of police action against Baba Ramdev early on Sunday morning, are now trying to pick up the pieces.

Many followers from the Ramlila Maidan sought shelter at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, where representatives of Bharat Swabhiman Trust claimed that several people are missing.

Dr Jadeep Arya, a key advisor on Ramdev’s team, said: “We have not managed to trace all the girl students from the Chotipur Gurukul, who were seated near the dais. We estimate that about 19 girls are still missing.”

At least 200 girls from this educational institution in Moradabad were sitting in the front, on the right. When Ramdev jumped from the stage after being woken by the police in the dead of night, he headed towards this group.

Behen Suman, women’s representative of the Trust, said many of these girls were roughed up when the police tried to reach Ramdev. “They were crying since police officials were pulling their hair and dragging them. Their clothes were torn, but they refused to move,” she said.

Preeti (22), an MA Sanskrit student from the Gurukul, said, “We were woken up by one of our teachers. About 15 minutes later Swamiji jumped down and we were told that he is coming to us.”

She added that the female volunteers rushed towards the girls to tell them Ramdev had decided to bless everybody and he would come to them first, so they should form a circle. “We encircled him, around 50 of us. Then police personnel started coming by the dozen. By then we realised they were trying to take him away, so we held on firmly,” she said.

After Ramdev was finally detained, the girls were packed into buses and dropped at Anand Vihar bus terminal.

“We were in different buses, so we still do not know how many are missing,” said Preeti.

Others like Kapil Tiwari came to Delhi in search of their family members after watching the Sunday crackdown on the TV.

“My brother was at the Maidan. We have been calling him since last night, but can’t trace him. I have come here to see if he is among the injured,” said Tiwari, who came from Faridabad and was at LN Hospital.

Balwant, from Hisar in Haryana, was found looking for his brother Hari Om at the Kamala Market police station. “My brother is around 21 years old. He insisted on coming to the Ramlila grounds, but we have not been able to contact him since Friday night,” he said.

Balbir from Haryana, meanwhile, was wandering on the streets in search of his brother. “Most of the participants were stuffed in a police bus and taken away. I have been told that the police took them to Ghaziabad and left them there. I am searching for my brother, I feel so helpless. He has no money, not even a mobile phone. Where will I find him in such a big city?” he said. Police, however, said no one was missing.

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