New Delhi: It was a daunting task for the hundreds of paramilitary and Delhi Police personnel guarding the Ramlila Ground with many of them admitting that it was an "overwhelming" experience. With Anna Hazare on Sunday breaking his fast for a strong anti-graft bill after 288 hours, most of them breathed a sigh of relief.
Many of the security personnel admitted that they had not seen such large crowds ever and it was a tough challenge to manage them and keeping their cool despite a few untoward incidents including one where policemen were attacked by some drunkards.
"I`ve never seen so many people gathered at one place creating so much noise. It has been an overwhelming experience for me," said a constable of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) battalion from Punjab.
Agreed a Delhi Police constable, "It has definitely been a tough assignment with so much going on all around. We were controlling crowds, traffic, looking after VIP movement etc."
"It was like a nightmare but we are very relieved now," he added.
According to the paramilitary personnel, they had arrived in Delhi from various states ahead of Aug 15 (Independence Day) but had to stay back due to Hazare`s agitation.
"We were supposed to leave after Independence Day but our posting was extending to guard the ground," said a CRPF constable posted in Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked about the incident when a group of drunken men attacked some of their colleagues, the policemen said that though they were prepared for such incidents, it was the "orders from seniors" that held them back.
"I won`t allow anyone to hit me with no reason. Moreover, it is illegal to hit a policeman on duty but we had orders to practice constraint and were asked to roam about without our lathis (batons)," said the constable.
"It is not a big deal that few miscreants attacked some of us. We`ve seen worst. This was a very peaceful agitation," said Delhi Police head constable, Parmeshwar Rawat.
However, there were some who remained unaffected like traffic constable Radhe Tiwari who was one of the many officers managing traffic outside the sprawling Maidan.
"We are used to handling such traffic during political rallies and festivals so this is nothing new," he said.
About 500 security personnel were in charge of guarding the ground along with bomb disposal and sniffer dog squads.