The arrest of Anna Hazare, not his fast, united civil society members, who had differed with his draft lokpal bill.
What brought them together was the denial of the right to protest, which civil society organisations termed as curbing the fundamental right of a citizen.
The National Campaign for People's Right To Information (NCPRI), which had opposed Hazare's Jan Lokpall Bill, came out with a statement saying it was the government's responsibility to ensure that public protests do not cause inconvenience or harm other people. It stated that being able to protest is a "democratic right" of every person."Though the NCPRI does not agree with many of the demands of Anna Hazare and his campaign, we support their democratic right to publicly make those demands. We are committed to protect such this right for all citizens of India," said a NCPRI statement signed by National Advisory Council members Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander.
Magsasay award winner Roy was also of the view that in democratic countries, civil society members have a right to protest against government policies. The arrest of Hazare could mean curbing of non-violent democratic agitations in the name of maintaining law and order.
In a separate statement, other Magsasay award winners Sandeep Pandey and Medha Patkar termed Hazare's arrest as a shameful act of the UPA government. They said curbing peaceful protests across India is not good.
They also burnt the copies of the government's draft lokpal bill, saying it will not be able to curb corruption as claimed by the government.
"We want the government to listen to people," said a statement issued under the banner of National Alliance of People's Movement. Kailash Satyarthi, founder of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said Hazare's arrest was an undemocratic step. He asked citizens to join the Hazare campaign.
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Divya Yog Mandir extended support to the “democratic movement” staged by Hazare and his team.
The Art of Living in a statement said: “Our founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar requests that this be a peaceful revolution. Public property should not be harmed.”