Ramdev & Co lock down Capital
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Traffic in the heart of the city came to halt after Baba Ramdev decided to take his protest from the Ramlila grounds to Parliament House on Monday afternoon.
Thousands of his supporters marched behind as Ramdev, with a black headband in place, rode first on top of a car and then climbed up to the roof of a bus. More than 6,000 security personnel also kept pace, halting Ramdev's progress less that 2 km from Ramlila Maidan.
Police put up barricades on the Ranjit Singh Flyover and lined up DTC buses to ferry the protesters to a makeshift jail in Bawana — a prospect that most people in the Tricolour-waving crowd had hoped for.
"We will be more than happy if the police arrest us. We will not indulge in violence, as Baba has asked us not to," said Rameshwar Rao, a member of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar.
As Ramdev and his supporters choked the city's roads, commuters in Central and New Delhi areas were stuck in long traffic snarls. Many passengers missed their trains.
The route towards Delhi Gate was blocked for close to five hours. An official at Lok Nayak Hospital said: "The protesters clogged the stretch, blocking the entry to the hospital. The ambulances could not come inside."
The fact that there was a last-minute change in plan by police — the protesters were taken to Ambedkar Stadium instead on Bawana — added to the chaos on the roads.
This made the traffic advisory, issued by police earlier, redundant. "Initially, we advised the commuters to take Delhi Gate via Mandi House to reach the W-Point and then ITO. But, as the protesters blocked the way, there was a sudden change in the plan to take them to the Ambedkar Stadium. By then, Delhi Gate, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Paharganj and DB Gupta Road areas were choked," a traffic official said.