Millennium Post

Anna wave is back

Anna wave is back
Anna Hazare is back and he matters. This was the message he readily offered to whoever cared to listen on Sunday, when he sat on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar despite the health-related warnings from his colleagues in Team Anna and other supporters. And, much to the relief of other members of the team it worked immediately.

The crowd swelled on Sunday at the protest venue. The only other time the gathering had shown a similar strength was when volunteers of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust, the yoga guru Ramdev's organisation, had come to hear their leader on Friday. The crowd kept growing throughout the day.

Buoyed by numbers, the fasting Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal used the opportunity to launch his book Swadesh. The veteran journalist Vinod Mehta was with Hazare when he launched the book. Mehta said, 'Swaraj speaks about how we need to first change ourselves to change the country.'

The crowd spilled over to the streets around Jantar Mantar. Later in the evening, a candle march was organised from India Gate to Jantar Mantar. It was also a day when Hazare and his team wanted to put aside any controversy and bask in the glory of houseful show. So much so that they chose to ignore the incident of Ramdev sharing space with the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad. Hazare said, 'I do not want to be dragged into this muddy debate. Don't try to divide us.'

Hazare defended the incident on Saturday when his supporters protested at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said that the protest was a reaction by people who were angry with the government. However, he advised his supporters to 'think before doing such things' in future.

Hazare also said that Team Anna was not deviating from its stated aim of getting the Jan Lokpal Bill passed in Parliament. 'It is the government which is moving away from its path. Our main demand is to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed,' he said and added that as long as the 15 tainted ministers in the Manmohan Singh government remain in Parliament, the Lokpal Bill would not be passed.

Apart from the Team Anna members, another 350 people have been fasting at the protest site since Wednesday. Fifteen of them have been hospitalised after their condition deteriorated.


GOVT ACTS TOUGH, SAYS PARLIAMENT IS SUPREME

Despite the anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare sitting on an indefinite fast from Sunday and drawing huge crowds in response, the centre does not seem to be in a mood to give in to his demands. The law minister Salman Khurshid, who seems to have been deputed by his party to go on the offensive against Team Anna in place of his colleague Kapil Sibal, told
Millennium Post
that the government was in no mood to concede any ground to the activists.

The law minister said, 'The Lokpal Bill will be eventually passed by consensus, and not by agitations or fasts. In fact, how else will it be passed? Consensus in Parliament is what you have to attain. You cannot pass it by holding these agitations.'

Khurshid put Parliament before the agitation and asserted its supremacy. He said, 'Parliament has to have  a majority agreement on something before it is passed. There is no other way. This bill can only be passed through consensus, and that is what Parliament is trying to develop.'

Will Team Anna's demands be considered or taken into account for this parliamentary exercise? Khurshid said, 'I am not sure that we will consider anyone's demands. When Parliament passes something, it takes into account a whole range of opinions that come from stakeholders. What you just cannot do is to outsource your job to one particular group of people.'

Khurshid made it clear that the government is going to back the process on the Lokpal Bill that it has already started in Parliament, where the government's bill has already completed half the journey. The minister said, 'Whenever bills are passed, there are disagreements, as some people want more, others want less. But, it is Parliament which has to finally decide what steps are appropriate.'


CROWD CROSSES PERMISSIBLE LIMIT, POLICE ISSUES NOTICE


Unlike 2011, this year Delhi police has decided to act tough with those supporters of anti-graft crusaders, who are found  disrupting the law and order situation in the city.

On Sunday, a notice-cum-advisory was issued by police to Neeraj Kumar, the organiser of India Against Corruption (IAC), for the ruckus created by Anna supporters on Saturday in front of the Prime Minister’s residence.

More than 100 Team Anna supporters, including apparently eight women, protested outside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence, 7 Race Course Road on Saturday evening.

Protesters managed to dodge the VVIP-level security and threw coins and pieces of coal at the house, and wrote chor (thief) and ‘Manmohan chor hai’ at the entrance gate and the driveway of the house.

The notice-cum-advisory letter, a copy of which is in the possession of Millennium Post, stated that on Saturday, around 6 pm, nearly 100 supporters gathered at the out-gate of the Prime Minister’s house and staged a demonstration. They threw water bottles, lumps of coal, currency notes and coins inside the complex. Police said some protesters alleged that the police personnel misbehaved with the women while they were protesting outside the PM’s residence. A senior police official said these allegations were false.

The police has also said that Kumar Vishwas, a key functionary of IAC, made a provocative speech against the police from the dais erected at Jantar Mantar. ‘Such speeches based on unverified facts are likely to instigate the crowd and egg them on to commit acts of violence, which may affect the law and order and harmony in the city,’ they said.

Police have advised Team Anna leaders to ensure that such provocative speeches are not made from the dais.

In the same letter, Delhi police further advised the IAC to follow the undertakings submitted to the Delhi police before beginning the fast at Jantar Mantar.

Another notice was issued after noticing that the number of supporters at the venue on Sunday exceeded 5,000, a senior police official said.

According to the undertakings, the IAC had said before the beginning of the fast that the number of supporters at Jantar Mantar at any given time will not exceed 5,000. On Sunday their number was found to be more than 10,000. Moreover, sources said the floating crowd near the venue reached about 1.5 lakh.

‘We have issued a notice to the IAC to kindly follow the undertakings in which they had assured us that the number of their supporters will not exceed 5,000,’ Joint Commissioner of police (central), Taj Hassan said.

Team Anna has been staging a fast against corruption since 25 July at Jantar Mantar. The members of the anti-corruption crusade, Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisoidia started the fast on the first day while Anna began fasting on Sunday. At the venue, Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas claimed that the authorities have sent him a notice asking him not to make any provocative speech from the dais. However, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said no letter has been sent to Vishwas.

‘We have sent a request to Team Anna member Neeraj requesting him to ensure that no provocative speeches are made from the dais. It is not a notice. It is only a request letter,’ he said.
Nitish K Singh

Nitish K Singh

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