Woman injured in police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan still critical

NEW DELHI: The victim of police brutality at the Ramlila Grounds, Raj Bala, is still battling for life. Doctors at G B Pant Hospital said the patient is “conscious, quadriplegic and obeying only simple verbal commands”. But more than 48 hours after she underwent surgery, there is no improvement in her condition, they said.

“She lifts her eyes when someone calls and tries to identify people around. But she cannot breathe on her own and there is no movement in her body, below the neck. We are monitoring her continously. We hope there will be some improvement in the next few days,” said a doctor.

And as Bala’s condition worsens, a pall of gloom descended on her house in Gurgaon. Her husband, Jagbir Singh, is in a state of shock. Their two grandchildren, Meghana and Sarthak, are sleepless and anxious. The cheer has gone out of their lives. Tears well in their eyes as they stare at the door waiting for the odd knock. Waiting to rush and embrace their grandma.

But husband Jagbir is yet to visit his wife at hospital. “I am a heart patient. I can’t say much. It’s a very bad time for our family,” he said. And as she battles for life, worn-out posters from her poll campaign are still fluttering in the alleys and streets. The poignancy can’t be missed. She had unsuccessfully contested the Gurgaon civic polls this year.

Her daughter-in-law, Rakesh Malik, says they are shell-shocked and shattered. What’s worrying the family is that Bala’s deteriorating condition may not allow her to come home soon. “We tried to console the kids. We told them that grandma has gone out for important work and will return soon. But they haven’t stopped crying. They haven’t been eating properly,” said Malik, their mother. Feeding them and taking them out to play was part of Bala’s routine. “They keep watching the door waiting for her to come back. This incident has shattered our family” she said.

Bala’s husband, Jagbir, would work at a private company, but has retired now. She has three sons, of whom one was killed by a gangster, a few years ago. “Mother-in-law was always cheerful and an active social worker. She took care of the kids and fight for people’s issues. In the nineties, she contested and won the elections to the Gurgaon Municipal Council.

She got acquainted with Ramdev during a training camp for yoga teachers at Gurgaon three years ago. She also went to Haridwar for training. When Ramdev called for an agitation against corruption, she expressed the wish to join him and participate in the satyagraha,” said another family member.

In fact, the family was woken up by a neighbour who told them about Bala’s condition. “She was first taken to Lok Nayak Hospital. But there was no senior doctor or the facility to treat her. After waiting for four hours, a CT scan was conducted. Later, she was referred to GB Pant Hospital. We are praying for her fast recovery,” said Rakesh Malik.

The family said at present they were more concerned about her condition, but will certainly take legal action against the police and the government.

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