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Worried over Anna’s health, 5,000 cops in place at protest site

delhi Updated: Aug 26, 2011 01:39 IST
Jatin Anand
Jatin Anand
Hindustan Times
Jatin Anand

Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare’s supporters are not the only ones concerned about his health; specially-assigned senior officers of the Delhi Police, on their part, are now keeping a very close watch as far as the even slightest change in his medical condition is concerned.

The Delhi Police have gradually stepped-up deployment at central Delhi’s Ramlila Ground, with at least 5,000 officers, both in uniform and in casual clothes, being positioned in and around the area.

According to sources, senior officers started mulling the ‘possibility of picking him-up’ as soon as the 74-year-old social activist’s health showed slight signs of deterioration, which first happened on Tuesday, the eighth day of his indefinite fast.

On Thursday, the 10th day of his hunger strike, even after doctors pronounced him ‘stable but under observation’, the police were preparing for any eventuality. “We are not only monitoring, but even videotaping all his medical bulletins and have the mandate to remove him from the (Ramlila) ground and rush him to medical care the minute his health fails,” said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

The contingent of officers, that began descending on the area early on Wednesday evening, was comprised of the bomb-disposal squad (BDS), the local police and even the crime branch.

On Thursday, like on the previous evening, the teams were seen conducting a ‘sanitisation’ drill of an internal evacuation route of around 500metres connecting the main stage to the ‘VIP’ exit leading to Turkman Gate. At least two such drills are understood to have been carried out before Hazare’s final medical check-up around 11pm on Wednesday evening.

Sources said the decision to remove Hazare, if need be, was an extension of their predicament of having given him permission to go on an indefinite fast in the first place.

“The possibility of removing him cannot be ruled out. We gave him permission to use the said venue till a limited period of time, not to commit suicide in public,” the officer maintained.