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Anna Hazare to sit on day-long fast at Jantar Mantar

June 07
03:46 2011

NEW DELHI: Anna Hazare and his supporters will sit on a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar here tomorrow to protest against police action on Baba Ramdev and have threatened to defy prohibitory orders if police refuse to give permission.

Close aides of Hazare said preparations were in full swing for the “very peaceful” protest from 10 am to 7 pm at the dharna hotspot of the capital. An all-religion prayer meeting and a debate on Lokpal Bill are also being organized during the fast.

Civil society member Arvind Kejriwal said, “No one can stop Anna Hazare from protesting at Jantar Mantar tomorrow”.

Shanti Bhushan, who wrote to Delhi Police on behalf of Hazare-led team seeking permission for the protest, said the incident in Ramlila Maidan on Saturday was a “blot on democracy” and it was the right of public to protest.

Police had on Sunday imposed Section 144 in Jantar Mantar and other areas in New Delhi district following the midnight police action in Ramlila Maidan where Ramdev and his supporters were on an indefinite protest against black money.

In his letter, Bhushan said, “We are informing you and cautioning you that this re-imposition of Section 144 again in Central Delhi in the absence of any emergent situation which imminently threatens to breach of peace, is a clear violation of Citizen’s Charter.”

“We are putting you on notice that we intend to go ahead with the fast on June eight which will be totally peaceful and any attempt to prevent the people from reaching Jantar Mantar would be viewed as a serious violation of fundamental democratic rights of the people. We hope the Delhi Police will desist from any such attempt,” he said.
A senior police official today said they have refused permission for the fast at Jantar Mantar while citing prohibitory orders at the site after the police action against Baba Ramdev in Ramlila Maidan on Sunday.

Kejriwal, who earlier in the day claimed that no one can stop Hazare from protesting at Jantar Mantar, said their protest will be “very peaceful”.

Earlier in the day, he had said, “from whom should we seek permission? They are not our masters. People of this country are the masters. Government is not our master, unfortunately they have started behaving like they are our masters.”

Justice Santosh Hegde, who is the Karnataka Lokayukta, said he will not join any fast or demonstration till he was holding a public post but noted that the move to impose Section 144 and denying permission to Hazare “indicates a weakness” on the part of the government.

“The actions of the government against Baba Ramdev shows they are scared of him,” he alleged, adding he was not asking anybody to defy the law.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said the police decision not to allow protest at Jantar Mantar “clearly” showed that the government is neither prepared to engage with the civil society nor it is clear about the strategy with which it has to negotiate on issues which are confronting it.

–PTI

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