"This is injustice. Anna went by the peaceful means of Satyagraha"

The repercussions of Anna Hazare's arrest in New Delhi were felt in his hometown Ralegan Siddhi, with people coming out strongly in protest against the police action.

The villagers, angry with the way the Hazare-led movement was quashed by the government, called for a bandh. More than 3,000 villagers, including schoolchildren and women, participated.

The protests that started with people gathering in front of the Yadavbaba temple later extended to the Ahmednagar-Pune Highway, where people staged a ‘rasta roko' and hunger strike. In the afternoon, the villagers courted arrest.

“The police didn't agree to detain people at first, but the villagers were adamant. Around 300 people were detained by the police in the afternoon and let off in the evening,” Sanjay Pathade, a school teacher from Ralegan Siddhi, who participated in the protests, told The Hindu.

Shops, schools and other establishments remained closed. “Some people did not even cook in protest,” a villager said.

“This is injustice. Anna went by the peaceful means of Satyagraha. This is like the British rule where expressing your opinion was not allowed,” Mr Pathade said.

“He was arrested from his house, when he was not posing a problem. How can that be justified,” Anna's brother Maruti Hazare asked.

Gatherings to protest the Anna's arrest were held in other parts of Maharashtra, including Pune, Nashik and Kolhapur.

Speaking to the media in Pune earlier in the day, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said: “Democratic protests in the State will not be affected. The Central government has taken its decision. However, I am of the opinion that the Bill should be allowed to pass, as it has been introduced in Parliament after 42 years. There is a scope for changes to be made later.”