Close to 1,100 people were detained by Mumbai Police on Tuesday after they took to streets to protest against the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare who was to go on indefinite fast for a stronger lokpal bill to tackle the menace of corruption.
According to the figures released by the police, around 1,000 people who took part in the jail bharo andolan at Azad Maidan were detained and released after few hours.
Besides, 47 people were detained in Matunga and 30 in Malad East. "There was no law and order problems as the protesters were courting arrest themselves," said Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik. Since the Mumbai Police did not have space to accommodate them in the lock ups, these activists were kept in different rooms of the various police stations and residential quarters.
However the figures were disputed by the NGO, India Against Corruption (IAC), Mumbai which points that more than 10,000 activists demonstrated across 20 locations of which 2500 have been detained.
"There was outpouring as the people were angry over the arrest of Anna who they feel will bring in a stronger lokpal bill," said Piyush Bhatia, Volunteer, IAC.
The protesters were mainly the youths, who came in large numbers in all the locations and even shopkeepers at Dadar and Lokhandwala, the major retail markets supported the drive by downing shutters for a few hours.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Heena Khan (23), a post-graduate student from the Institute of Science says that Anna's arrest has spurred her to action. "This is dictatorship where we cannot even protest in our own country. Since Anna is protesting for our future, we should definitely be a part of it," said Khan. Similar was the view of Sumita Rao (21) who said "When a 73-year old can walk in the jail for our better future, how long can we just sit back? Political parties too hopped on the bandwagon.
BJP leaders participated in the demonstrations and even courted arrest.
The Shiv Sena condemned the arrest but remained silent on joining the agitation. However, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) continued to maintain a neutral stance.