The crusade against corruption spilt over to the streets of the city of Nagpur, after hundreds of Anna Hazare’s supporters staged impromptu protests against his detention and subsequent arrest.
Hazare was arrested by the Delhi police on Tuesday morning, hours before he could stage his indefinite hunger strike for an ‘effective’ lokpal bill.
The Bharatiya Janata Party lapped up the opportunity to take on the government. In a calculated move, the BJP organized a massive morcha at the busy Variety Square near Gandhi statue and condemned the Central government’s action.
Addressing the rally, the state BJP president, Sudhir Mungantiwar came down heavily on the government for detaining Hazare and then refusing him permission to hold his fast demanding a strong lokpal bill.
Mungantiwar has termed the arrest of Hazare an attempt by the Congress led UPA government towards clamping an emergency like situation to curb people’s freedom. He said Hazare and hundreds of his supporters were taken away by the police in New Delhi even before they could start their peaceful agitation.
His party decided to undertake a signature campaign against the UPA government in September last week and file an affidavit against the government.
"This is high handed action. People will not tolerate a government that does not allow free expression or democratic, peaceful protests on social issues," he added.
“The detention of Hazare and his associates has proved that the country is on the verge of another Emergency,” said the vocal BJP legislator Devendra Fadnavis. “This is dictatorship and against the democracy. People would not tolerate this,” he further said while addressing the gathering.
The city unit of the BJP had decided to organise a `jail bharo’ agitation in support of anti-corruption crusader Hazare on Wednesday noon at the same venue.
Several social organizations, particularly the India against Corruption, a group that supports Hazare and his campaign, staged a protest rally near RBI square on Tuesday morning.
Many text messages urging people to protest the police action against Hazare were in circulation in the city. “Come in large numbers. Today, the final battle has begun,” the message read.
A large number of people, particularly students from different colleges, took to the streets to protest Hazare’s detention. There was also a spontaneous shut down in several areas in protest Hazare’s detention.
Flaying the arrests, thousands of people, including women and youths raised slogans against the government.
The city police deployed tight security to maintain law and order. As many as 126 protesters were detained in neighbouirng Katol city who were agitating against the arrest of Hazare. Later they were released by the police, informs Manoj Sharma, the superintendent of police (SP), Nagpur (Rural).