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Anna Hazare arrested, hasn't eaten since morning
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: August 16, 2011 12:49 IST Click to Expand & Play New Delhi: Anna Hazare is under arrest and has been produced before a magistrate. His plan to fast at Delhi's Jai Prakash Narain Park was foiled, but the 74-year-old has not eaten or even had water since early morning. (Read: Who is Anna Hazare) Mr Hazare's "preventive arrest" came after three hours of his being under "preventive detention." The Opposition has slammed the government, saying it is Emergency again. The government says there is nothing illegal about it, but in a very high-level huddle, senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram are meeting Rahul Gandhi right now. At 7.30 am on Tuesday morning, minutes before Mr Hazare was to set out for his fast against corruption, about a dozen policemen in plain clothes detained him at Supreme Enclave in Delhi's Mayur Vihar, where he was staying. They tried to whisk him away in a white Innova car, but hundreds of angry protesters ensured that the car could barely move for over an hour. Mr Hazare, with several of his key aides who are now also under arrest, was taken to the Delhi Police Mess near Oberoi Maidan in north Delhi and was produced before a special executive magistrate there. (Do you agree with Anna Hazare's fast?) Under attack from all quarters, the government has justified the police action on Anna. Union Home Secretary RK Singh said he was detained because he said he would defy prohibitory orders. Senior Minister Ambika Soni said the arrest was not unconstitutional and that Mr Hazare could have waited till Parliament was not in session to protest. Parliament opened to chaos on Tuesday. The BJP gave a notice for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the Anna Hazare issue. The government said it was ready for a discussion after Question Hour, at noon. There is no meeting ground - the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till noon, the Lok Sabha at first till 11.30 am and then till noon. Home Minister P Chidambaram has offered to make a statement in Parliament. The Opposition says it will settle for nothing less than a statement from the Prime Minister. Anticipating arrest, Anna had recorded an appeal to people to come forward for what he called the "second freedom struggle" in peaceful protest and said a second line of leaders would continue to lead the movement. But on Tuesday morning, this second line and core members of Team Anna - Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kiran Bedi- were detained too and taken to the police mess. Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan was detained at Rajghat. A third line of crusading leaders went underground to gather support using mobile phones and social media and surfaced a little before noon to decry Mr Hazare's arrest and to exhort people to come out in large numbers in protest. In Mumbai supporters in big numbers are courting arrest, in Bangalore, they are lining up to join the India Against Corruption movement. There is massive support in Kolkata too. In Chennai, Mahatama Gandhi's personal secretary Kalyanam is among about 300 people on hunger strike; 30 people have courted arrest. There are protests in Lucknow too. In the capital, the supporters that followed Anna's car as he was being taken away vowed they would move to Rajghat, where Anna was to have gone before setting out for JP Park where he planned to fast. Sources say about 3,000 Delhi University students are expected to assemble at Rajghat too. As they heard of the detention, many office-goers said they were not attending work and would join the protest. Delhi Police has imposed Section 144 at several places in the Capital, including central Delhi, JP Park, Rajghat and Dilli Gate. At Rajghat, the police is not allowing people to gather in large numbers. Any large groups are being disbanded, put in buses and taken away to Chhatrasal Stadium in Model Town, north Delhi. At JP Park, where Anna was to sit on fast, protesters are pouring in ready to court arrest. Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan said youth from Delhi University would court arrest at 12.30 outside the Chhatrasal stadium. And that at 4pm today, protesters would march from the Pragati Maidan metro station to JP Park. He also announced that at 4 pm on Wednesday, a big march would be organised from India Gate to Parliament House. He appealed to all people to join the march and asked government employees to take mass leave for a day. Team Anna has asked people to wear black bands and to use social media and SMSes to help gather more people. Amid widespread protest, the police say if Anna had agreed to the 22 conditions that it had set, he would have been allowed to fast. But the Gandhian had declared on Monday that these were unconstitutional demands and that he had no fear of police restrictions. "I am starting my fast tomorrow. It is just the start of a struggle for change. We have to fight a long battle. It's going to be a fight to bring about change in India." BJP, Left slam government The NDA met before Parliament convened today to decide on its strategy and the Opposition has asked for a discussion in Parliament. But in swift reaction to the police action, the BJP slammed the UPA government for detaining Anna Hazare. BJP patriarch L K Advani said he was not surprised at the detention. "I am not surprised at this development. This is the direction in which this government is moving. Instead of dealing with the problem of corruption and owning responsibility, it is trying to find scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests," Advani said. (Read: Advani slams Govt) The Left criticized the detention as an attack on the democratic right to protest peacefully, but the CPI also appealed to Anna Hazare not to fast and to have faith in Parliament. (Anna's detention unconstitutional: Left) A CPM statement read: "This is an attack on the democratic rights of citizens to protest peacefully. It shows how the Congress leadership is intolerant to any anti-corruption movement as their government is itself steeped in high-level corruption. The Polit Bureau reiterates that the official Lok Pal Bill presented in parliament is weak and inadequate."
Protests erupt throughout India
NEW DELHI // Protests erupted throughout the capital yesterday, a day after the 64th anniversary of India's independence. Police cracked down on protesters and thousands of people were detained. In the day's most surreal twist, the leader of the anti-corruption demonstrations - 73-year-old Anna Hazare - was sent to Tihar Jail, the same New Delhi prison that houses former government officials Suresh Kalmadi and A Raja, who are awaiting trial on corruption charges. The arrest of Mr Hazare drew thousands of people onto the streets of more than 30 cities, including Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore, and in other, smaller towns across the country. Even non-resident Indians from the UAE had travelled to India to protest. As the numbers of protesters swelled, it became clear that there was insufficient space in New Delhi's prisons. The demonstrators were rounded up from various parts of city and taken to Chhatrasal Stadium. But when the sports facility reached capacity, the protesters were left at the gates. "We have courted arrest voluntarily," said K K Saratchandra Bose, a Dubai-based lawyer, who was detained at the stadium along with other protesters. He estimated that at least 5,000 people were in the stadium with him. Mr Hazare has been warning the government about the protests for more than a month, and demanding that it pass his version of an anti-corruption bill. It would apply to offices as high as the prime minister. The rapid proliferation of the anti-graft protests has highlighted the severity of India's corruption problem. The scandals could significantly weaken, if not topple, the government. Mr Hazare indicated as much during a press conference on Sunday: "We are not interested in pulling down the government but during our fight for change, if it falls, we don't care." Over the last year, the government, led by the Congress Party, has endured several corruption scandals. Telecom licences have been sold at suspiciously low prices. Government housing has been allocated to officials' relatives. In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games last October, officials awarded contracts without following guidelines, leading India's comptroller-general to level strong accusations of corruption. In response to a message from Arvind Kejriwal, the founder of India Against Corruption, more than 12 million people have registered their support by calling a hotline. More than 60,000 people have also sent emails to government officials calling for them to adopt Mr Hazare's anti-corruption bill. India Against Corruption is a movement that was created last year in response to the scandals regarding the Commonwealth Games and telecom licences. In Chennai, more than 2,000 protesters gathered at a construction site after being denied permission by the local government to gather in a public place. Sahana Chandrasekhar, 18, a student and a volunteer with the India Against Corruption in Chennai, said 50 people volunteered to be arrested and another 200 started a fast yesterday, in a show of solidarity with Mr Hazare. "The government is clearly threatened or intimidated by the number of people who are a part of this movement," Ms Chandrasekhar said. The protests in the capital drew the largest and most diverse crowds. Farmers, students, professionals and businessmen chanted slogans such as "I am Anna. Arrest me". They also sang patriotic songs. Piyush Rai, 26, and his friend Animesh Tripathi, 27, both engineers, said they were at the protest to help change the minds of their friends, who said corruption was inevitable in India. "Most of our friends are unmoved," said Mr Rai. "They say, 'nothing will change.' That's the mentality of the Indian people and we want to change that." Dilbar Singh, 51, a farmer from the state of Haryana travelled two hours to reach the capital. He drove his tractor 40 kilometres to Sonepat. then boarded a bus and walked to the protest grounds where he was arrested. "Corruption has robbed this country and eaten away its core," he said. "When I left home, I told my family that if I am arrested or beaten dead for joining the protest, then you will know that my soul has been liberated Mr Singh was protesting the corruption he has experienced first-hand trying to tend to his fields. "Farmers are dead. Inflation has killed us. We have to bribe officials to get electricity to power our motors to bring water to the fields; we have to bribe people even to buy oil to power that generator." Vikas Puri, 20, a student from New Delhi, was arrested along with 15 of his friends for protesting near the Delhi Legislative Assembly and were taken to the stadium. He said his friends were responding to a rallying call by Mr Hazare who asked Indians to come out yesterday and "jail bharo", - Hindi for "fill the jails". It is borrowed from the Gandhian philosophy of peaceful civil disobedience. "Let's see how much space they have in their jails," said Mr Puri. "I woke up and told my parents today that I am going into the world to do some good." Mr Puri ran afoul of India's endemic corruption two days ago when he tried to renew his passport. He was asked to pay 400 rupees to grease the palm of an official who refused to complete his paperwork without the kickback. "It is official that unofficially you have to pay a bribe," said Mr Puri. "But you cannot imagine the shame I felt for this country and the anger I felt. I essentially had to buy my right to a passport."
PM ordered Anna's release after consulting Rahul
PM ordered Anna's release after consulting Rahul' August 16, 2011 21:29 IST Share thisAsk UsersWrite a CommentPrint this article Union Home Minister P Chidambaram [ Images ] on Tuesday evening asked Delhi [ Images ] Police Commissioner B K Gupta to revoke the detention orders against veteran activist Anna Hazare and all his supporters with immediate effect, sources told rediff.com. The decision was taken following a one-and-a-half-hour meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ], Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi [ Images ] and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's [ Images ] political advisor Ahmed Patel, where the trio took stock of the situation following the detention of Anna Hazare, who began his fast unto death despite being in police detention. The Gandhian was arrested on Tuesday morning from his residence at New Delhi before he could commence his indefinite fast to press for a stronger Lokpal Bill at the JP Park in the city. The entire country erupted in protest against his arrest. Rahul Gandhi made it clear that the UPA government should not do anything that may force an uprising like in 1977, sources said. PM Singh kept him updated all through the day with the developments and held consultations with his cabinet colleagues, sources added. He agreed with Rahul's suggestion that Anna should be released from Tihar jail as the action against him was proving to be counter-productive. B K Gupta then signed revocation of the detention and the order was delivered to Neeraj Kumar, director general Tihar jail, by 8 pm. "He is being released on his own terms and has not compromised with the government," Anna's close aide and former Delhi top cop Kiran Bedi [ Images ] told rediff.com over the phone. The release of Anna is being seen as a big win for the Gandhian leader and would serve as a shot in the arm for his supporters. The release order came within five hours of three cabinet ministers -- Kapil Sibal [ Images ], Chidambaram and Ambika Soni -- defending the action taken against Anna Hazare and his men. Delhi police also released over 2,000 persons from Chattrasal Stadium at around 8 pm.
Hundreds gather outside Tihar jail as Anna refuses to leave
The Hindu Supporters of Anna Hazare during a candlelight vigil outside Tihar Jail in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar RELATED NEWS Corrupt, repressive and stupid Hazare arrest sparks angry protests BJP rejects Anna's demand on Jan Lokpal Bill Left, Right join hands to corner government Government arrests Anna, then blinks Nation-wide protests against Anna’s detention TOPICS India Delhi crime, law and justice corruption & bribery justice and rights laws prison police arrest politics Despite being offered release, Anna Hazare spent the night in Tihar Jail refusing to come out insisting on an unconditional release and permission to launch his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park. The Gandhian’s aide Manoj Sisodia came out of the jail last night and said Mr. Hazare told the authorities that he will come out of the prison only after a written unconditional permission is given to continue his fast at J.P. Park, where he was to launch his hunger strike on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, sources said, Mr. Hazare got up at around 5.00 a.m. and was involved in a discussion with Mr. Kejriwal and his other associates who are in prison along with him. Mr. Sisodia on Wednesday said, “We don’t have any information on when he will come out.” Outside the jail premises, hundreds of people stayed through the night and expressed solidarity with Mr. Hazare and his campaign against corruption. R.K. Saxena, a school teacher, said: “I am here to support this great cause. Government must accept Anna’s demand for the welfare of the country.” Shouting anti-corruption slogans and holding the national tricolour, people from all walks of life started coming in large numbers from early hours of the day and joined others who were standing outside the jail premises through the night. Ashwaq, a 38-year-old businessman, said: “I am fasting with Anna and other supporters since yesterday. I will continue my fast till Anna is freed from the jail and all his demands are accepted by the government.” Morning walkers also joined the supporters demanding that the government release Mr. Hazare and his supporters. Rakesh, a student, said “I am fasting with Anna for the bill and to uproot corruption from the country“. “It is inhuman to punish Anna and others like this. He is fighting for the people and for the country. Government must pass Jan Lokpal bill,” Rekha Lalwani, a student of Delhi University, said. Keywords: Anna Hazare arrest, Anna Hazare fast, JP Park, Jan Lokpal, anti-corruption movement, India Against Corruption, civil society, Rajghat
Key features of proposed bill
To establish a central government anti-corruption institution called Lokpal, supported by Lokayukta at the state level.
As in the case of the Supreme Court and Cabinet Secretariat, the Lokpal will be supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and the Election Commission.
As a result, it will be completely independent of the government and free from ministerial influence in its investigations.
Members will be appointed by judges, Indian Administrative Service officers with a clean record, private citizens and constitutional authorities through a transparent and participatory process.
A selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for interviews, videorecordings of which will thereafter be made public.
Every month on its website, the Lokayukta will publish a list of cases dealt with, brief details of each, their outcome and any action taken or proposed. It will also publish lists of all cases received by the Lokayukta during the previous month, cases dealt with and those which are pending.
Investigations of each case must be completed in one year. Any resulting trials should be concluded in the following year, giving a total maximum process time of two years.
Losses caused to the government by a corrupt individual will be recovered at the time of conviction.
Government officework required by a citizen that is not completed within a prescribed time period will result in Lokpal imposing financial penalties on those responsible, which will then be given as compensation to the complainant.
Complaints against any officer of Lokpal will be investigated and completed within a month and, if found to be substantive, will result in the officer being dismissed within two months.
The existing anti-corruption agencies (CVC, departmental vigilance and the anti-corruption branch of the CBI) will be merged into Lokpal which will have complete power and authority to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or politician.
Whistleblowers who alert the agency to potential corruption cases will also be provided with protection by it.