August 16, 2011 9:09:54 am
The government was tonight faced with a piquant situation with Anna Hazare refusing to come out of Tihar Jail despite being offered a release,15 hours after he was detained and prevented from going on fast demanding a strong Lokpal.
The 73-year-old Gandhian,who was fasting in the jail,was insisting on an unconditional release and permission to launch his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park from where he had planned to launch his fast this morning.
Hazare’s close aide Manish Sisodia,who was arrested along with him and released,said the Gandhian has told the authorities that he will come out of the prison only after a written unconditional permission is given to continue his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park.
Sisodia said Hazare and activist Arvind Kejriwal were continuing with their fast.
Neeraj Kumar,Director General (Tihar Jail),said Hazare was in his room and all formalities have been completed for his release.
But he has refused to go out as he wants an unconditional release,he said.
Jail sources said Hazare’s conditions like permission to fast from JP Park has been communicated to the authorities concerned for final decision.
In a sudden turn of events,government withdrew charges against him after picking up Hazare from a flat in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar at 7:30 am when he refused to heed Delhi Police’s request to him not to go ahead with his fast in violation of prohibitory orders.
Amidst scenes of jubilation by hundreds of candle- holding and tri-colour carrying supporters who shouted slogans,Hazare came out of the prison waving to them.
On a day of high drama,Delhi Police,which got Hazare and seven of his associates remanded to seven days judicial custody and lodged them in Tihar Jail,issued warrants of release around 2000 hours as thousands of people courted arrest in Delhi,Mumbai and other cities across the country protesting against the government action. Hazare and his associates were charged under Sections 107 and 151 of CrPC dealing with preventive arrest after police believed that they were about to commit cognizable crimes when they refused to heed to Delhi Police’s request not to go ahead with the protest as it would be in violation of prohibitory orders.
After some high-drama of shifting the arrested from a police officer’s mess to a police station,the Gandhian and his associates were remanded to judicial custody for seven days after they refused to give a personal bond that they would not violate prohibitory orders and hold protests.
Hazare along with his three supporters have been kept in new admission ward of Jail number four while Kejriwal,a former IRS officer,and three others have been kept in Jail number one.
Two other prominent activists Kiran Bedi and noted lawyer Shanti Bhushan,who were detained under Delhi Police Act for apprehension of breach of peace,were released in the evening.
More than 1,500 activists were detained in Delhi when they hit the streets in support of Hazare while in Mumbai,over 1,000 were held and hundreds of others in cities across the country.
Hazare,who is campaigning Lokpal that will cover Prime Minister,higher judiciary and MPs conduct inside Parliament among others,went on fast in the prison taking only water,sources close to him said.
Parliament was disrupted by Opposition parties which said Hazare’s arrest amounted to the murder of democracy and was a throwback to the days of the Emergency. Home Minister P Chidambaram rejected this charge asserting anyone saying he would defy prohibitory orders was unacceptable in a democracy.
Chidambaram said Hazare was arrested under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC because Delhi Police felt he could commit a cognizable offence.
He said Lokpal was not a panacea for all the corruption that existed in the country. The government was taking a five-pronged action to tackle it but it would still exist,Chidambaram said. It is a battle that would be fought on various fronts and no one can tell the government it would be either my Bill or no Bill,he added.
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