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Nationwide Condemnation Of Anna's Arrest

PTI 16 Aug 2011, 22:47:36 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Aug 16 :  Parties ranging from the Left to the Right today came down heavily on the Government, condemning detention of Anna Hazare and the refusal to give him permission to hold his fast demanding a strong Lokpal, saying it is an attack on democratic rights of citizens.

Slamming the government for the police action against the Gandhian and his team, political parties accused the government of stifling the legitimate rights of the people and described it as a “sad day for Indian democracy”.

“I think it is a very sad day for Indian democracy. You cannot take away the right to protest and the right to dissent....this we have never seen earlier. This is completely unprecedented,” leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

Senior BJP leader L K Advani said he was not surprised at the detention of Hazare and charged the government with looking for scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests instead of fighting corruption.

“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 told PTI.

Condemning the police action against Hazare and his team, senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat termed it as an “attack” on democratic rights of the people.

“We condemn the arrest of Hazare and his team and the ban on their hunger strike. We consider it as an attack on the democratic rights of the citizens,” she said.

Questioning the government's intention to fight corruption, Karat wondered why the police action came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resolved to fight the menace.

“Yesterday, the Prime Minister mentioned his commitment against corruption 16 times in his Independence Day speech and next day he arrests people who want to peacefully protest against corruption.

“May be Congress leadership cannot tolerate anti-corruption movement because its own government is steeped in corruption, scams and scandals,” she said.

Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde also lambasted the government, saying it is not at all fair in a democracy to deny anyone the freedom to express his views by way of protest.

“I don't think its fair at all in a democracy, merely because somebody wants to express his views by way of some protests,” he said questioning the detention of Hazare “in a mid-night manner without serving a detention order, without saying where they are taking him.”

“This is not the right way to do...Under article 22 (of Constitution), there is a procedure which has to be followed to detain a person,” Hedge said.

Senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the Gandhian should have faith on Parliament.

“We want to tell Anna Hazare not to sit on fast.  Parliament is there, Parliamentary Committee is discussing the Bill. Not only Hazare but we are also against corruption. We also want barring the President, everyone should be under Lokpal.

“Anna is not alone. We are also there. It is important to have faith in Parliament. If he takes this route deciding not to have faith on Parliament, it would not be good,” he said.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement in Lok Sabha on the issue of Anna Hazare's detention.

“A statement from the Home Minister on the issue (Hazare) is not acceptable to us. We want Prime Minister's statement in the House. Whatever has happened, the Prime Minister must explain,” Swaraj, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, told reporters outside Parliament.

She said, “If the Prime Minister gives a statement then there will be a discussion on it. If the Prime Minister does not give a statement, then we will decide our future course of action.”

Making a scathing attack on the government for “adopting undemocratic methods inside and outside the House”, Swaraj said, “This is happening for the first time that the Speaker's ruling was challenged by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

“The Speaker allowed me to speak in the House but Parliamentary Affairs Minister (Pawan Bansal) said he would not allow me to speak.

“It is strange that the government whose responsibility is to run the House disrupted the House,” she said.

“Government is showing imbalance in Anna Hazare episode. First four senior ministers negotiated with Hazare and now they are saying he is corrupt. The government is hell-bent on crushing civil rights of the citizens.”

Questioning the government's decision to arrest Anna, she said, “Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were imposed in JP Park but Hazare was arrested from Mayur Vihar where no Section 144 was imposed.”

In Patna, describing the detention of activist Anna Hazare as “murder of democracy”, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said it was “rehearsal of emergency” which people will never tolerate.

“It is a murder of democracy... It is also a rehearsal of emergency which people will never tolerate”, Kumar told reporters while sharply reacting to the detention of Hazare and his aides in New Delhi earlier today.

“It seems that the people sitting in Delhi don't have the realisation of democratic values... It is sheer desperation of those sitting at the Centre”, he said, adding, the act reflected that “the Central government is afraid of the mass support the movement has”.

“It can never be tolerated in democracy”, he said and demanded that Hazare be unconditionally released and should have full freedom to hold an agitation in “a peaceful and non-violent way”.

“The tactics remind the people of the time of emergency”, he said recalling what the Congress stand was after the emergency. “Now similar situation exists”.

Alleging that Cabinet Ministers were taking decisions on Anna Hazare's protest, the Gandhian's team today claimed that Delhi Police has become a “puppet” in the hands of the Central government and appealed to people to protest the detentions of anti-corruption protestors.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan said a series of protests have been planned across the country to vent their anger “peacefully and in a non-violent” manner against the detention of Hazare and others.

“The decision to detain Hazare or to deny permission for his protest were taken by Cabinet Ministers. It is not the Delhi Police which is taking these decisions. There is no freedom for Delhi Police. It has become a puppet, an ornament in the hands of Central government,” Bhushan told reporters.

He said a large number of students of Delhi University will protest outside Chhatrasal Stadium, which has been turned into a special jail, and court arrest while another protest will be organised at Pragati Maidan from where the activists will take a march to Jai Prakash Narain Park.

“A protest march will also take place tomorrow from India Gate to Parliament House,” he said. Prohibitory orders have already been imposed in the localities mentioned by Bhushan.

Taking exception to the detention of Hazare from a flat, he said the detention of Hazare was a “kind of detention under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA)”.

New Delhi: Terming Anna Hazare's detention by Delhi Police as “unconstitutional”, Samajawadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today said the Gandhian and his supporters must be released “immediately”.

“His detention is unconstitutional and if the Government has any sense left, Hazare and his supporters should be released immediately,” he told reporters outside Parliament here.

Yadav said Hazare was alone at the time of his detention and “there was no violence happening there and there was no need for this.”

The SP leader said the Government's step has led to a situation where “students, advocates and others have come on road to protest against this”.

Asked if he supported Anna's movement, he said, “We have been fighting against corruption and he is also doing the same.”

Jamshedpur (Jharkhand): Leaders of JMM and BJP in Jharkhand today criticised the detention of Gandhian Anna Hazare and alleged the UPA government was conspiring to stop his anti-corruption campaign.

Sudhir Mahto, a senior JMM leader and former deputy chief minister, condemning the police action said, “There was no need for such an action as Hazare and his team had assured the government that the fast-unto-death in support of Jan Lokpal bill would be non-violent and peaceful.” Alleging the UPA government lacked will to rein in corruption, Mahto strongly advocated for a stringent law to curb the menace.

Another former deputy chief minister and BJP MLA Raghuvar Das, along with hundreds of his supporters, sat on a dharna at Agrico here to protest against his detention and to express support for his cause. PTI Hazare's arrest dangerous for democracy: Munda Ranchi, Aug 16 (PTI) Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda today condemned civil rights activist Anna Hazare's detention and claimed the step could be “dangerous for democracy”.

“The arrest of Anna Hazare can be dangerous for democracy as it is his fundamental right to protest... one can't snatch the right of a free citizen. The speed shown in arresting him is condemnable,” Munda told reporters here.

“The way the Centre is trying to stop Anna Hazare's movement is wrong,” he said. PTI