Buckling under public pressure, the Delhi Police took a U-turn and agreed to revoke all conditions imposed on Anna Hazare's fast to be organised by NGO India Against Corruption.
It all started around 9pm on Tuesday when Hazare rejected the police order and refused to leave Tihar Jail where he was lodged after being arrested from Mayur Vihar in the morning.
The constable from Mayur Vihar police station in East Delhi, who was incharge of Anna's case, was hurriedly summoned to the Rajouri Garden police station to complete formalities for Hazare's release. He was made to give an undertaking that Anna won't be a threat to law and order once released.
Surprisingly, the special branch of the Delhi Police, which conducts surveys before every protest, had warned of large-scale protests in case Hazare was put behind bars.
"Around 5,000 people would have turned up had we allowed Anna to carry on with his fast but the decision to arrest him backfired and the number of protestors suddenly crossed the 30,000 mark," said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.
Fearing that things could get worse, the Delhi Police top brass met on Wednesday at the police headquarter and decided to offer Team Anna a new venue without any restrictions. "We zeroed in on Ramlila Maidan as the number of protestors was much higher than we had expected. We allowed them to fast for seven days and permission could be extended on daily basis," the officer said.
Regarding the use of loudspeakers, the police said the organisers are required to follow the guidelines laid by the Supreme Court that bans speakers after 10pm. There is no restriction on number of protestors at Ramlila Maidan as was the case with JP Park.
While, the police softened its stand, Team Anna was in no mood to accept the reworked offer as they knew that the ground was booked after September 7. Two riders, however, accompanied the new offer. "We only requested them to get a checkup done by our doctor. Also, in case of any law and order problem, the organisers would be held responsible," the officer further said.