NEW DELHI, June 5 (IANS): Gandhian activist Anna Hazare Sunday called the police crackdown on yoga guru Baba Ramdev and his supporters "a throttling of democracy".
"To protest is not a crime. It only strengthens democracy," Hazare told reporters here, referring to Ramdev's hunger strike against corruption and black money that began at the Ramlila ground here Saturday morning.
"But what was the need to send police at the dead of night and beat up people?" he asked, hours after hundreds of police personnel swooped on the protest site and forcibly removed Ramdev and his supporters.
"This is a blot on democracy," he said.
In an apparent reference to some of those backing Ramdev, Hazare said the yoga guru's campaign "may have had some weaknesses".
"But this does not mean that police will beat up people. What crime did the demonstrators commit? Why crack down at night? Women and children were there too."
Hazare, whose own five-day fast in April had forced the government to announce a panel to frame a Lokpal bill, said people all over the country should protest the way Ramdev was forced to end his fast.
"All the people should protest. Don't look for support from political parties. The future movement should be so big that the government should be taught a lesson."