The arrest amounts to attack on right to peaceful protest: CPI(M)

The Left parties on Tuesday announced their plan to protest against the Manmohan Singh government's decision to arrest of social activist Anna Hazare, thereby denying him the democratic right to conduct a peaceful protest.

In a statement, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the government had attacked the democratic right to conduct a peaceful protest by banning the hunger strike Mr. Hazare had planned and then arresting him and his supporters. The Polit Bureau called upon all party units nationwide to stage a demonstration on Wednesday.

The Communist Party of India condemned the pre-emptive arrest of Mr. Hazare, terming it “illegal and undemocratic.” Its central secretariat said that while one might differ with Mr. Hazare, everyone agreed that there was a need for a strong Lokpal covering the office of Prime Minister.

“Corruption is on the rise in the political, bureaucratic, corporate levels in an alarming way… People are justifiably angry, and demand firm action to curb corruption. Like anybody else, Anna Hazare has the right to protest. A powerful people's movement, together with the Left and Democratic forces, is needed to get an effective Lokpal Act passed in Parliament,” the party said in a statement.

The party termed the Congress's approach “totally unjustified.” Instead of starting talks with Mr. Hazare, it began attacking him, targeting his personality and integrity. “It shows the panic and bankruptcy of Congress politics.”

Demanding the immediate release of Mr. Hazare, the party said it would relentlessly fight against corruption and black money and continue its struggle in and outside Parliament.

The CPI (ML) Liberation charged the government with resorting to “unconstitutional” methods and stifling protest. The party activists staged a demonstration.