Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan called the Delhi police a “puppet of the government”. He was infuriated at the “unlawful arrest” of Anna Hazare from his (Bhushan’s) residence, where the anti-corruption crusader camped the night before his fast, even before he started for the venue.
“Ministers at the Centre are taking decisions and the Delhi police has been asked to follow that. It is kind of MISA application as was done during the Emergency. There is no law in the country under which anyone can be arrested for attempting to break section 144 (of the IPC),” Bhushan told a press conference in New Delhi.
Hazare and his aides were picked up in the morning from Mayur Vihar and later remanded in judicial custody and sent to Tihar jail for seven days. Bhushan said India Against Corruption (IAC) would go to the Supreme Court on Tuesday itself protesting the arrest. Later, however, he cited technical problems in being able to do that. “Section 144 cannot be imposed at anyone’s home,” said Bhushan.
Bhushan also said none of the IAC members would avail bail or pay personal bonds. “It has now become a fight for restoration of democracy,” he said.
Another IAC member, Swami Agnivesh said, “After celebrating the 65th anniversary of India’s Independence, today is a black day in the history of India’s democracy.”
Akhil Gogoi, IAC activist from Assam who was named the second in command by Hazare before he was arrested, said, “We have to follow Anna’s message. Come out and court arrest in large numbers.”
However, Hazare and all his aides and scores of supporters who had courted arrest were released late Tuesday evening.