Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has defended the June 4 midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev and his supporters, saying "the government had to take action" as the yoga guru went back on his word of staging only a "token fast".
"He (Ramdev) said he would withdraw it (the agitation) in the afternoon of the first day (June 4). And he did not...after a sort of agreement between the government and Ramdev, when we found that the things were getting out of hand, he was sticking to what he had said, the government had to take that action," Bansal told Karan Thapar in his Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN TV channel.
"He was supposed to be withdrawing it. And he said he would convert it into a thanksgiving fast or a token fast. Instead, he started (his fast)," he added.
Bansal, who was also one of the government interlocutors to meet Ramdev in Delhi, said midnight was "the only time" for the police action as it helped prevent casualties.
"I am very convinced about the fact that Saturday night was the only time the government could have taken action. Had the government waited for the next day...we couldn't have done anything," he added.
Around 100 people were injured in the police action at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi.
Raj Bala, one of the injured, continues to be in a critical condition in a Delhi hospital.
Ramdev, however continued his fast in Haridwar and was taken to a Dehradun hospital on Friday as his health deteriorated.
He ended the fast on the ninth day on Sunday after meetings with spiritual leaders.
"If police were to reach that place in the morning when Ramdev was exhorting people, the reaction of the people would have been very violent. It could have led to at least a 100 deaths," Bansal said.
Bansal insisted that Raj Bala did not get injured during the police action.
"You should ask for a medico-legal report if she was injured due to the police action or a heavy object fell on her. Unfortunately, something must have fallen on her spine," he said.
"I empathise with the family," he added. "The first thing the government decided was taking care of her."
Bansal blamed Ramdev for the police action.
"If I look back, there has been nothing wrong on the part of the government. I wish Baba Ramdev had not gone on a fast at all and all this would not have happened," he added.
The minister also said that Ramdev had told them that he was going to do "meditation" and not "fast".
"Every body has the right to raise (their) voice against corruption. But when they cross their limits, just like Baba Ramdev did, government has to take action," he added.
Bansal, who is also the science minister, said the government was not arrogant in its behaviour. "The government has a responsibility to perform, to deal with a situation."
"I have come across people who are disenchanted with Baba Ramdev and not the government," Bansal added.