THE LAWFILE

Anna writes to PM, says if not helped, he will court arrest on Aug 16

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Anna Hazare and his team have rejected Delhi Police‘s conditional permission for his August 16 fast over Lokpal Bill. Expressing his unhappiness, Hazare has once again written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “If you can’t help us, we will court arrest,” he has said in the letter.

The 74-year-old Gandhian wants to begin an indefinite hunger strike at the Capital’s protest hotspot Jantar Mantar. But he was denied permission for this venue. The Delhi Police instead said he could hold his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park. The permission, however, is conditional – only 5000 people will be allowed to gather and they will have to vacate the venue by August 18. Rejecting these restrictions, Team Anna said today, “We cannot control the number of people since it is an indefinite fast. We will decide where to hold the fast. Police may arrest us.”

“Can’t our PM get us a location to protest peacefully,” Hazare asks Dr Singh in his letter. “People say your government is the most corrupt. Because of what’s happening in the government, America intervened in our matters. If you can’t help us, we will court arrest on August 16,” he has further added. (Read Anna’s full letter)

Addressing a press conference this evening, Mr Hazare said that the government is curbing free speech and is creating an Emergency like situation.

Mr Hazare said that he is running from pillar to post for a venue for the fast and that he has written to the Prime Minister requesting him to allot a venue for the fast.

Yesterday, Home Minister P Chidambaram requested Anna Hazare to call off his hunger strike. “Everyone has a right to protest. But the context and circumstance decide whether the protest is legitimate or not. When there was no Lokpal Bill, the protest was justified. But now that there is a Bill in Parliament, and the Standing Committee has asked Anna Hazare to testify, the protest, at this stage, seems to be unjustified,” Chidambaram said.

On charges of not providing Jantar Mantar (in New Delhi) as a venue for Team Hazare’s agitation, Chidambaram had said, ”Anna’s is not a special case. Jantar Mantar cannot be given for long protests or to one group alone. As there are many other people with causes, the day has to be divided and the group given slots.”

The Lokpal Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 4, has been sent to the Parliamentary committee for its consideration. But its draft did not include several key suggestions made by Team Anna. Earlier this week, the panel had invited Hazare for the discussion in yet another bid to strike an understanding with civil society activists.

The Lokpal Bill provides for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal, or ombudsman, to fight corruption in public office. Hazare and four of his nominees were initially invited by the government to help draft the new Bill, along with five ministers. The elected and non-elected teams of representatives clashed bitterly, and ultimately produced two dramatically different versions of the Bill. But the government chose to introduce its version of the Bill in Parliament. In this version, senior judges and the PM are exempt. Team Anna has accused the government of “betraying” the nation by delivering a Bill incapable of really taking on politicians or public servants over corruption.

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2 Responses

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  1. Good points

    hotshot bald cop

    August 30, 2011 at 7:51 am

  2. Never considered it that way.

    hotshot bald cop

    September 1, 2011 at 12:46 am


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