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Updated: August 16, 2011 13:46 IST

Anna Hazare calls for ‘jail bharo’

Gargi Parsai
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Social activist Anna Hazare during his visit to Rajghat on Monday on the eve of his hunger strike for a stronger Lokpal Bill. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Social activist Anna Hazare during his visit to Rajghat on Monday on the eve of his hunger strike for a stronger Lokpal Bill. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The confrontation between social activist Anna Hazare and the government on the Lokpal Bill took a turn for the worse on Monday with the former giving a call to his supporters to fill jails all over the country if he is arrested on Tuesday.

Mr. Hazare was denied permission by the Delhi Police to stage his fast here as his team refused to comply with all 22 conditions they laid.

Addressing journalists here after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh criticised him for resorting to a fast as a protest when Parliament was seized of the Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption crusader said he would go to the JP Park, the venue of his fast, even though the police had imposed prohibitory orders.

“I am given to understand that I will be refused permission. We will go there. If I am arrested, I will continue my hunger strike in jail. If I am released, I will go back to the venue and continue the fast. This will go on,'' Mr. Hazare said. He gave a “lights off'' call throughout the country to reflect the “darkness in the hearts of the poor, deprived and dispossessed people.''

He said that once he was arrested, people should fill the jails in every village.

Accusing the Prime Minister of speaking the same language as his Cabinet colleague Kapil Sibal, Mr. Hazare said he was sure that if a strong Lokpal was created there would be a 60 per cent end to corruption.

Before his news conference, the 74-year-old activist made a surprise visit to the Rajghat taking the police unawares. He said he went there for “introspection.''

While senior United Progressive Alliance Ministers defended the decision to withhold permission to Mr. Hazare as “necessary,'' the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party slammed the government for “scuttling all voices of dissent.''

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said one may or may not agree with Mr. Hazare and his team on the Lokpal Bill but no one can question their right to protest.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal said the government's action was “autocratic.'' Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said they would move the court on Tuesday against the decision of the Delhi Police.

Former Karnataka Lokayukta, Santosh Hegde, who is also a member of the Team Anna's core team, said the government's action showed that it was “nervous.” Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan also condemned the refusal of permission to Mr. Hazare.

This article has been corrected for a factual error.

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I will be honest at this moment, before this detention, I was with the government and Mr. Sibal's arguments. But after detention, I think this reflects the emergency-like situation. If protests are non-violent, the police or the government has no right to arrest an individual. India also belongs to the under-educated and the poor as much as it belongs to the middle/upper classes. This is a terrible development and Indians abroad like me hang our heads in shame. If the protest is non-violent, the police has no business with it, simple as that. This has become more of a matter of interpreting the constitution, perhaps the likes of Manish Tiwari and Mr. Sibal think only they can read and write English. Law is about interpretation, it's never the final call - that's the reason why you debate in a court of law. This will go down badly for India in history, the government really have such weak arguments that I laugh at them, the Police Commissioner of Delhi needs to be held accountable.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 16:00 IST

This is once for life time importunity to stand against corruption.... They alone can't do anything we need to stand with them to make it effective and please share your support and stand together...

from:  aj
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 13:51 IST

After what they have done in Delhi, this Govt has no more legitimacy left. The Constitution may save its skin for a couple of years, but they have lost all credibility. Maybe the US system won't work for us, since with so many divisions in the country, no one candidate contesting personally will be able to muster a credible margin of votes But the current system isn't working too well either, that is sure .

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 13:48 IST

Anna Hazare and team can't do much with our current political system, but we have to fight. All the current political parties are somehow and somewhere involved in the corruption and they don't want to come out of it! Like America, President or PM should be elected by the people directly. Then only good people can enter the politics and do the good things for the people. Anna Hazare's movement should go towards that goal and it can be achieved with our will power.

from:  Vasu
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 11:54 IST

The hour as come for every single Indian to stand in good stead with Team Anna, there is absolutely nothing in going out on streets in support of Team Anna and filling up the jails, we cannot single handedly win corruption its should be a collective responsibility, we went out in large numbers to throw out the British let us do the same now to throw out this Lok Sabha if it is not willing to give a Lokpal Bill on our terms

from:  xavier surender
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 10:15 IST

We are with you Annaji. We need this change.

from:  Om
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 09:04 IST

The country stands against the UPA's corrupt and black money regime and will back Anna Hazare. It is a question of time when this govt headed by incompetent PM, who has allowed such massive scams will be thrown out by the people.

from:  prasad
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 08:59 IST

Calls such as jail bharo and switching off the lights in the night is not at all acceptable as they only deterriorate the law and order situation still worse. The issue of corruption is to be checked and properly addressed and the government should be given time enough and the Parliament is to be given a chance but somebody or a particular group calling themselves as social activists should not resort to undemocratic steps. When the police has given enough fecilities they should reconsider their programmes and abide the law so that the nation is not disturbed. As law abiding citizens we should first take the nations interest and should not be adament to have our voices heard, at any cost.May the good sense prevail.

from:  K Syed Ghouse
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 07:05 IST

I would like to be wrong in my assessement on Jan Lokpal Bill success even with noble aims and objects by the so called Gandhian Jan Andolan by Anna and his team comprising IPS and eminent lawyers of Supreme Court and supported by the people of India. The reason being that this is the age of democracy and the Bills are passed by the Parliament after obtaining the assent of the President of India and published in the Gazzet but absolutely not on the streets. Duragrah (holding on by force, as in protest ) is not Satyagrah. And to be correct on my assumptions with conviction I have written in my capacity as a lawyer after taking the whole situation into consideration with judicious mind from day one, I requested and suggested Mr. Anna Hazare to be nominated as the member of the Rajya Sabha by virtue of Article 80 (3) Constitution of India and move his own Bill before the Parliament. Her Excellency President of India through her Secretariat helpline gave positive response ( PRSEC/E/2011/09525) which was conveyed to Arvind Kejriwal by e-mail. But Anna or his team did not heed. Second reason for failure is his ignorance or over confidence on Opposition ( Mainly BJP ) as evident from his soft corner for them is fatal in the sense that it is not merely Congress which is responsible for not conceding to his demands but the Opposition is equally responsible and the failure of the Congress political expediency has isolated itself being the sinner. Had Congress presented both the Bills before the Parliament the holy intentions of the Opposition would have been exposed before his eyes. We could not know the exact come out of the responses of the State Governments which are also the part of the sinister strategy to thwart the Bill. They are all corrupt. The dare not give clear opinion. No law in India is going to help Anna and his team to such Duragrah. Oppressive laws can be repealed or disobeyed but cannot be made by Satyagrah. Parliament is supreme. Shri Anna Hazare is once again and for the last time requested to be nominated as the member of Rajya Sabha and move his Bill and get it passed through his endeavour. We hope better counsel will prevail even at this be lated stage.

from:  A. Patrawala Advocate
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 06:44 IST

Seriously something wrong with the government...Harassing the 74 year old man who wants to stop the corruption in the country, in a Gandhian way. Taking legal decisions, in a matter of seconds, to stop all his movement. On the other hand spending 100 crores to secure a terrorist who killed many of us and was captured on national TV, stating the line "our legal & judicial system will take its own time"!

from:  babu
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 03:47 IST

Is India an independent democracy or a government of fascists? The corruption in the Revenue departments of India are mimd boggling. The PM and the HM presided over the Finance Ministry. The present HM when he was FM had a photo-op in Chennai, standing in the queue to file his tax return. What is the cost to the exchequer for an hour he spends on his personal work! How many times has he asked the commissioners and IT officers of tax refunds not paid and why? The PM did not have as FM, compulsions of coalition politics then and why did he not act? Even the British did not attempt such restraints on Gandhiji or anyone for peaceful protests. Gopal Gandhi on the demolition of Babri Masjid (The Hindu 13 Dec. 1992 , recalling his great grandfather, "You lifted one fistful of salt and an empire was shamed/ Lift One fistful of rubble Now And pour it on our shameless heads".

from:  Scribe
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 03:00 IST
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