The move to release Anna Hazare was a political decision taken by the government following the administrative action of his arrest by the police on Tuesday, Home Minister P Chidambaram told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Chidambaram made the statement during the discussion on Hazare’s arrest following a statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the day. Describing it “as his painful duty”, he termed Hazare arrest on Tuesday as “inevitable, though unfortunate”.
“Our government does not seek any confrontation with any section of the society. But when some sections of society deliberately challenge the authority of the government and the prerogative of Parliament, it is the bounden duty of the government to maintain peace and tranquillity,” Singh said."Inevitably, though unfortunately, it led to the arrest and subsequent release of Hazare and some of his supporters. I sincerely hope that the incidents of yesterday will not be repeated today or in the future," Singh said adding that the Delhi Police took the minimum steps necessary to maintain peace.
But under attack from the opposition and allies — who questioned the statement and pinning the decision of the arrest entirely on Delhi Police — home minister sought to clarify further and said Hazare’s release was a political decision.
Chidambaram reasoned that the arrest took place because Hazare, like a true Gandhian, admitted his plans to go to JP Park and break the law.
“So, the police took him into preventive detention,” he said replying to a point raised by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on why Hazare was arrested from a place where Section 144 was not imposed.
“The police acted in their best judgement and no force was used … but it (the arrest) was inevitable the way things developed.” Recalling how as a young lawyer he was detained by the police for participating in a protest, Chidambaram asked leaders if they were not arrested ever as a preventive measure, in their political careers?
Chidambaram even mentioned the arrest of LK Advani by Bihar government during his rathyatra.
* “But I felt the remand was unnecessary, I asked the Delhi Police to review the case before the magistrate. The learned magistrate kindly considered and ordered release but Hazare’s refusal to come out was unexpected,” he said.