Delhi Police today refused permission to Team Anna to hold an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar here from July 25,contending that the timing coincides with the Monsoon Session of Parliament when it has to provide space to other outfits.
Activists did not buy the arguement and said they will hold the protest only at the same spot or in jail while accusing Home Minister P Chidambaram for not being allowed to hold the fast.
Team Anna had announced the indefinite protest against the UPA government on the issue of corruption and its alleged failure to enact a strong Lokpal as well as not setting up a Special Investigation Team to probe corruption charges against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his 14 Cabinet colleagues.
In a letter to Team Anna,Delhi Police said during the proposed period of the fast,the Monsoon Session of Parliament will be on and Jantar Mantar will see a huge rush of various organisations coming to hold dharna or demonstrations who all will have to be accommodated there.
“This place has a limited capacity to hold people,and keeping in mind equitable distribution of space for everyone,each organisation will be permitted to bring only a very limited number of supporters. A gathering larger than the capacity is vulnerable to stampede and other security-related issues which will come up,” it said.
“Keeping in view the position explained above,the permission to hold a fast at Jantar Mantar continuously from 25.07.2012 to 08.08.2012 cannot be acceded to,” the letter said,adding Team Anna can contact police for a mutually acceptable venue.
The letter also noted that special security arrangements will be required and these arrangements cause undue strain on the limited capacity of Jantar Mantar which is a regular road and cannot be blocked for a long duration.
Reacting to the police letter,Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal tweeted,”official reason (to deny permission) Parliament in session. Are MPs scared of people of India? How far do they want people to stay away from them?”
“It is dangerous for democracy if Parliament and MPs start getting scared of people…Real reason is that Chidambaram is behind denial…Anshan (fast)will take place either at Jantar Mantar or in jail,” he said.
Another Team Anna member Manish Sisodia also strongly objected to the Delhi Police decision.
On Police’s contention that they can reach a mutually acceptable venue,he said for that,first they will have to talk to them and find out what is in their mind.
Sisodia said Team Anna will go ahead with its agitation even if police denies permission.
“The state cannot use its might to scuttle our agitation. Police has asked about mutual agreement. We will talk over it,” he said.
Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas also echoed Kejriwal and Sisodia.
“We are not to confront any police. But we are very much firm that we are going to hold the fast. Now the ball is in Chidambaram’s court,” he said.
Meanwhile,yoga guru Ramdev has also approached North Delhi Municipal Corporation seeking permission for using Ramlila Maidan from July 25 to August 30 for their fast.
Ramdev has announced a protest demanding bringing back of blackmoney stashed abroad from August nine.
“Our protest starts from August nine. But we have asked permission from July 25 to prepare the ground,” S K Tijariwala,yoga guru’s spokesperson,said.