The police are roping in various resources to deal with the large turnout anticipated at Anna Hazare’s three-day agitation at the Bandra-Kurla Complex grounds, starting Tuesday. But what’s really worrying them is how to deal with the Jail Bharo Andolan, scheduled from December 30 to January 1.
“Our priority is to ensure security during the agitation at BKC grounds. We are to give serious thought to Jail Bharo,” said Rajnish Seth, joint commissioner of police (law and order).
There is cause for concern. It will be the first such agitation in the western suburbs. Historically, jail bharo agitations have been held between Azad Maidan and Mantralaya, where the police have a well-defined Standard Operating Procedure. “At Azad Maidan, we take protesters to different lock-ups in south Mumbai or the police ground at Naigaon. They are detained for a while and released without being charged,” an official said.
The police are now emptying more than a dozen lock-ups in the suburbs. However, these can accommodate a few hundred people and if thousands crowd the streets, the police don’t have enough vehicles to transport people to various detention centres. “In that case, we will either have to arrest the leader/s and resort to lathicharge to disperse protesters, or we will round up protesters by putting up barricades,” the official said. It’s unlikely that the police will use force.