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Nationwide Protests Continue, Delhi Lawyers On Strike

New Delhi/Chandigarh/Bangalore, Aug 17: Supporters of Anna Hazare carried out protests in several metros of India demanding enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill.In Bangalore, thousands of students skipped classes as they thronged Freedom Park here in
PTI August 18, 2011 9:19 IST
PTI

New Delhi/Chandigarh/Bangalore, Aug 17: Supporters of Anna Hazare carried out protests in several metros of India demanding enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill.

In Bangalore, thousands of students skipped classes as they thronged Freedom Park here in support of Anna Hazare, with former Supreme Court judge Santosh N Hegde, also joining the dharna.

Hegde, a member of the joint committee on drafting the Lokpal bill who till recently was Karnataka Lokyukta, threw his weight behind the protest for the second day as slogans of "Vande Mataram" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" constantly rent the air.

"Anna is fighting for us. We are here to support him," several students said. Some had even taken permission from their Principal to be part of the protest.

Techies, NGOs and elderly were seen lending support as the crowds swelled, compared to yesterday, with the protest appearing to gather further momentum.

Hegde reiterated that the government made a mistake by arresting Hazare and now wants to rectify it, adding, he is sure the social activist would again be taken into custody when he launches an indefinite fast once released, which would allow it to "legitimise" its move.

He opined that if the Government came out with "open heart and open soul (willingness to look into their version), we (the civil society members) are ready to discussions again".

Capt G R Gopinath, founder of low cost airline Air Deccan, said the fight is not against any political party; it's against the system.

He said the Government, instead of arresting Hazare, should have opted to discuss the provisions enunciated by Team Anna in Parliament, adding, it should now show "grace" as it's not too late.

What caught the attention at the protest here is the active participation of employees in the IT sector, who turned up in large numbers with a significant section of them networking with the help of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

"We want to do our bit for the country", said Praful Patil, 23, a software engineer from Wipro who came with six of his colleagues taking compensatory offs after working on holidays over the week-end.

"This is once in a life-time opportunity to end corruption. It's a golden opportunity. If we lose it, we will not get another chance in 100 years," he said.

Another techie working at HSBC, said that many people who thronged the site were driven by initiatives in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Jammu:  Unwavering supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare today staged demonstrations here and took out protest rallies against the Centre for arresting the Gandhian.

The city had witnessed candle light vigils in various parts last night.

Hundreds of demonstrators converged on Jammu-Pathankote highway at Traro area in the district and took out a protest rally. The rally, however, caused inconvenience to the commuters.

They raised slogans against the Centre and demanded immediate and unconditional release of Hazare. Chanting slogans like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram', the protesters flayed the government for shielding the corrupt by preparing a weak Lokpal bill.

"We will continue our protests till Anna is released and is allowed to carry out his fight against corruption", Anna's supporter Devinder Singh said.

Students bunked classes and staged demonstrations in front of GGM science college in support of Anna demanding his immediate release.

"We want Anna out of Tihar jail now. We want him to continue his war against corruption and ensure that Jan Lokpal bill is passed... Students are with them in his struggle", a college student Sunita Sharma said.

Chandigarh:  Unrelenting supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and BJP activists staged demonstrations across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today, voicing their support for a strong Lok Pal Bill.

The BJP activists have staged demonstrations at different places in Punjab and Haryana against the Congress led UPA government, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma said.

"Congress is facing serious corruption charges and those who are raising their voice against corruption and blackmoney stashed in foreign banks are being forcefully suppressed," Sharma said.

"Congress' autocratic functioning was clearly visible during Ramdev's protest and Yuva Morch rally... Leaders of opposition are not being allowed to speak in both Houses of Parliament and now it has taken an undemocratic step against Hazare and his team members," he said.

The BJP activists after staging protests handed over memorandums to respective Deputy Commissioners against the Congress functioning.

Meanwhile, activists of NGOs- 'India Against Corruption' and 'Awaaz' continued with their protest at different parts of the twin states and their joint capital.

The demonstrations so far have been peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported from any parts of Punjab and Haryana, officials said here.

Reports of protests have been received from Rohtak, Karnal, Ambala, Hisar, Kurukshetra, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.

The chain fast by members of India Against Corruption continued at the rally ground in Chandigarh, NGO's convener Rahul Bhartiya said.

"Anna Hazare was arrested by Delhi Police without any valid reason. The 22 conditions imposed by Delhi Police are all unethical and against our democratic rights," he said.

The battle is on irrespective of whether Anna Hazare is released or not, our demand is Jan Lokpal and not the release of Anna, he said.

Meanwhile, activists of 'SaferHub', 'India Against Corruption' and 'Awaaz' besides different social and political organisations took out a car and bike rally, candle-light marches and held demonstrations at Panchkula near here and in Chandigarh and other parts of Punjab and Haryana.

"We will keep protesting till Jan Lokpal Bill is introduced," Rahul Bhartiya said adding that the protests would be more intensive with more and more people participating in these demonstrations.

Meanwhile, lawyers at the district courts in Chandigarh decided to observe a day long strike.

New Delhi:  Lawyers today observed a one-day token strike in all the six district courts here protesting the arrest of Anna Hazare and non-inclusion of judiciary in the Lokpal bill, interrupting the proceedings in the 2G scam.

The striking lawyers entered the court room and requested Special CBI Judge O P Saini and defence counsel to adjourn the proceedings for the day in support of their token strike.

The Special court, which was scheduled to hear arguments on charges against Asif Balwa and Rajeev Agarwal, Directors of a DB group company and accused in the 2G spectrum scam, adjourned the matter till 1 pm due to the strike.

The Co-ordination Committee of All Bar Associations of Delhi, has condemned the government's act in arresting Hazare, saying it was done to curtail his fundamental right to protest against rampant corruption.

"The strike in all the six district courts is successful and no work is being done at all. We will organize a 'dharna' today at Tiz Hazari Courts complex from 12 noon to 2 pm," Sanjeev Nassiar, Secretary General of the committee, said.

Due to advocates' strike, the work in all the six district courts -- Patiala House, Tiz Hazari, Karkardooma, Saket, Rohini and Dwarka Courts -- has come to a halt.

The committee had said the government's act of arresting Hazare has given a clear message to the citizens that it is not interested in taking measures to minimise corruption at the top level.

Hazare is not fighting for himself but for the whole society.It said the lawyers of the country feels government cannot subvert the provisions of the Constitution by arresting those who are working in the interest of the nation as well as the whole society.

The lawyers' body said that they are also "amazed" by the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding exclusion of judiciary from the ambit of Lokpal Bill.

Hyderabad
: Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu and scores of his party workers were taken into custody as they staged a protest in front of the Ramgopalpet police station here this afternoon against the arrest of Gandhian Anna Hazare in New Delhi yesterday. Police prevented the former Chief Minister and his party men from taking out a rally to the Ambedkar statue on Tank Bund prompting Chandrababu and others to sit on a dharna in front of the police station.

They were later taken to nearby Mahankali police station. Earlier, Chandrababu led his party workers on a dharna at the Mahatma Gandhi statue on MG Road in Secunderabad against the arrest of Hazare and his followers. Terming Hazare's arrest as undemocratic, the TDP chief demanded that the Centre immediately permit the former to go ahead with his planned protest, seeking a stronger Jan Lokpal, without any restrictions.

Chandrababu reiterated his party's demand that the Prime Minister too be brought under the Jan Lokpal's purview. He vowed to continue the fight against corruption till a stronger and effective Jan Lokpal law was put in place. For the second consecutive day, TDP workers across Andhra Pradesh took to the streets protesting Hazare's illegal arrest and promising to continue their fight against corruption. “Carry on your fight (against corruption)..we will be with you,” the TDP rank and file promised Hazare and raised slogans against corruption.

Mumbai: Protests continued here today as supporters of Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement thronged the Azad Maidan in South Mumbai on the second day, protesting the ‘undemocratic' manner in which the 73-year-old Gandhian was taken into custody by Delhi police.  Besides the activists of the NGO ‘India Against Corruption' (IAC), youth and mill workers also joined the protests.

People started trickling in since morning at the sprawling ground, from where several protesters had been evicted last night by police.

Ad-man Bharat Dabholkar and chairman of All India Imaam Parishad Maulana Mufti were among those who addressed the protesters.

At suburban Powai, a group of former Army personnel gathered to express solidarity with Hazare, an ex-Army man. The mill workers' union also joined the protest. Members of Left trade unions too were protesting at the Azad Maidan, city CPI leader Prakash Reddy said. Singer Kailash Kher would be performing at the Maidan tomorrow, an IAC spokesperson said.

The mood at Azad Maidan was of patriotic fervour, as hundreds of protesters were chanting slogans and singing patriotic songs.

Some railway employees also joined in the protest. Motormen gathered in front of the divisional railway manager's office at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, to express support to Hazare's agitation; but train services were not disrupted, they said.

“Fighting against corruption is everyone's right and our whole staff is with Hazare,” said Venu Nair, divisional secretary of National Railway Mazdoor Union.

Itanagar: Students from the North East Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST) at Nirjuli organised a mass procession in support of Anna Hazare from the Institute campus this morning which culminated at the deputy commissioner's office at Naharlagun. Over 300 students carrying placards and shouting slogans in support of Hazare stalled traffic movement at the NH 52-A for over two hours.

Later, the students also submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate.

In Itanagar, number of citizens, especially youths, staged a dharna at Akashdeep market complex shouting slogans and holding banners.

Those present expressed anger over detention of Anna Hazare and urged every Arunachalee to join the crusade against corruption.

All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU) convener Ringu Kuku, who was one of the participants, said that every body spontaneously participated in the dharna. “When Anna is fighting for the cause of billions of Indians, it is our duty to show solidarity with him. Arunachal is one of the most corrupt states in India. Therefore, if the Lok Pal Bill becomes a reality, citizens of this state will bear maximum fruits. So we need to support Anna in his fight,” Kuku said.

Leh: Supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare today called for a day-long dharna and a protest march to the office of the District Commissioner.  Thousands of supporters and several political and civil society organisations today decided to sit on the dharna as a mark of support for Hazare's campaign.

“It is our responsibility to support such a leader (Hazare) who is struggling against corruption without having any political or other interests,” Thupstan Chhewang, former Member of Parliament from Ladakh, said while addressing the supporters.

The protests here are being organised under the leadership of civil society activist Pintu Norboo. “The people of the country are now sick of seeing and hearing about corruption and want a revolution against this,” Norboo said.

Ahmedabad: The Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court today refused to entertain the lawyers who wanted to abstain from the court proceedings to protest the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare.

Division bench headed by Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya asked the president of Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association (GHCAA) Yatin Oza not “to bring politics” to the Court, when Oza tried to make a representation on the issue. “Do not embarrass the Court,” the Chief Justice said. Court will not allow any adjournments and dismiss cases where the lawyer chooses not to remain present, he added.

Earlier today, GHCAA passed a resolution that its members would stay away from the court proceedings to register protest against the arrest of Hazare in Delhi, said Oza, a senior counsel and a former BJP MLA.

However, some of the members opposed the resolution, calling it a political act.

Ghaziabad: Members of Ghaziabad Bar Association today boycotted the court in support of social activist Anna Hazare. Several lawyers gathered in court compound and extended their support to Hazare, and shouted slogans against Union government for the arrest of Gandhian activist. They also took out a 2 km long protest march in which people of all walks of life participated.

Protesters were carrying posters of slogans against the Union government and portraits of Anna Hazare. They demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the arrest of Hazare.

Bhubaneswar:
 Protest against crackdown on Anna Hazare and his aides had its echo in Orissa assembly which was adjourned twice amid uproar as BJP and ruling BJD MLAs condemned the action and sought a strong Jan Lokpal. As the question hour began on the opening day of the monsoon session, BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo and party members were on their feet dubbing the Congress-led UPA government at the centre as “murderer of democracy.” Shouting anti-UPA government slogans, BJP legislators stormed into the well of the House demanding tabling of a strong Jan Lokpal Bill in Parliament. The slogans rocked the house almost throughout the question hour.

BJP backed Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi, who also joined the protest, said outside the House that a discussion should be held in the assembly and a censure motion adopted against the action on Hazare and his supporters. When the question hour was about to end, Congress members shouted against NHPC's Sindol proejct saying it would affect people in three districts in western Orissa. The House was adjourned for 15 minutes amidst uproar.

When the House reassembled, ruling BJD MLAs started sloganeering against the Centre over the Hazare episode, leading to adjournment of the house till 3 pm.

Outside the Assembly, rallies, demonstrations and dharnas were held in several areas of the state with protesters burning effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in some places. In the state capital, demonstrations were staged under the banner of various outfits including India Against Corruption.

Lawyers of Orissa High Court in Cuttack also joined the protest wearing black badges and terming the action on Hazare as an assault on democracy and human rights.  Students of SCB Medical College at Cuttack also expressed solidarity with the anti-graft movement by Hazare.

Reports of protest were received from several places including Balangir, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Rourkela, Barbil, Keonjhar and Gunupur. PTI