Baba Ramdev’s supporters throng Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan

via published on June 3, 2011

It was a sea of saffron at the historic Ramlila Maidan in Delhi this morning as a large number of supporters of Baba Ramdev started pouring in from across the country carrying flags and festoons to join the yoga guru’s proposed indefinite hunger strike against corruption from tomorrow.

A huge 2.5 lakh square ft tent has been erected for the demonstrators while tight security arrangements are in place for preventing any untoward incident.

The Baba’s followers, including a large number of women, were seen entering the site carrying their luggage. The organisers have put up state-wise counters for registering the supporters who are being provided identity cards.

A battery of mediapersons are at the ground. Decorators were giving the finishing touches to the saffron-and-white pandals. It was saffron all around with flags and festoons aplenty and the bearded face of the Baba on every poster and banner put up at the site.

Some people were seen sleeping on the mattresses while some were taking bath in the open. More than 5,000 ceiling fans and coolers, 1,300 toilets and bathrooms have been installed at the site.

An eight ft long stage has been set up for the yoga guru from where he will instruct his followers. Large screens alongside the stage have also been installed.

The sitting area near the stage is being divided into three parts — one for those who will sit for fast for a single day, one for those who will sit for the entire duration and one more for daily visitors.

Drinking water and medical facilities will be provided to people participating in the Satyagraha.

“We have a water purification system for drinking water and 650 water taps have also been installed,” said Acharya Virendra Vikram, President of Bharat Swabhiman Trust, Delhi. “Around 60 doctors from our own medical facilities will be available here throughout the day,” he said.

MCD staff were seen sprinkling water on the soil to keep the dust away. They also undertook fogging exercise.

Chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” filled the air as hundreds of people gathered at the site. Many were seen assembling before the TV cameras for giving sound bytes.

“Corruption has become a disease and it has to be treated. I could not sit at home doing nothing when such a protest is going on,” said Mahesh Chandra Chaturvedi from Uttar Pradesh, a retired veterinary doctor.

Shyam, a college student from Gwalior, said, “I have nothing to do with Baba Ramdev or yoga but when such a large-scale protest is on, I could not resist coming here.”

Along with the Delhi police, thousands of volunteers from Bharat Swabhiman will be manning the ground. An official said 30-40 close circuit cameras are being installed on the main ground and entry and exit points.

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