The UPA government came under fire across the political spectrum after ordering a midnight crackdown on yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who remained defiant after being forcibly evicted from the Capital amid high drama.

OUR BUREAU New Delhi/ Haridwar

The dramatic eviction of Baba Ramdev in a midnight swoop by Delhi police on Sunday drew loud protests from across the political spectrum and triggered a slugfest between the UPA and the Sangh Parivar, which threw its full weight behind the yoga guru.

In the midst of the political firestorm, the government gave twist to the tale and cited intelligence reports, which suggested a possible death threat to Swami Ramdev, intended to stir rioting and communal violence throughout the country.

A sobbing Ramdev, earlier in the day, gave an emotional account of the early morning raid in which thousands of his followers were dispersed by police officers wielding sticks and tear gas. Appearing on national television in Hardwar, where he was ferried in a private plane by the UPA government, he described how he tried to escape the police dragnet by dressing as a woman and covering his flowing black beard with a white dupatta. " The government wanted to kill me," he said amid sobs.

He also raised an accusing finger at Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for engineering the crackdown on his peaceful satyagrah.

Ramdev was picked up from the satyagrah site at 1.30 am and packed off to his ashram at Hardwar with an order prohibiting his entry into the national Capital for the next 15 days.

Politicians of all hues and civil right activists blasted the Congress Party for mishandling the hunger strike and described the police action as " a shameful chapter in the democratic history CONTD. ON P2

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