Govt says Anna free to leave jail, he refuses to go
Government today said Anna Hazare was free to go wherever he wants to and that Delhi Police will take a decision on whether he will be allowed to hold protest at JP Park here.delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2011 11:58 IST
Government on Wednesday said Anna Hazare was free to go wherever he wants to and that Delhi Police will take a decision on whether he will be allowed to hold protest at JP Park in New Delhi.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh said since Hazare has been released he is free to go wherever he wants to. "He is in the office of the DIG, Tihar Jail. He rested at night and he and his supporters have been given a hall...I am quite sure that Delhi Police officers have been talking to him," he told reporters.
"He has been released. He can go wherever he wants, he is free and officers from Delhi Police will be asking him where
he wants to go," Singh said.
On Anna's demand to protest at JP Park, the Home Secretary said the Delhi Police will take a call on the issue. The 73-year-old Gandhian, who was ordered to be released yesterday after being remanded in 7-day judicial custody, spent the night in the administrative block of the jail along with his associate Arvind Kejriwal.
Hazare was offered released last night after the Delhi Police issued warrants of release for him and seven of his
associates, almost 13 hours after they were detained.
However, Hazare made it clear that he would come out of the prison only if he is given permission to stage the
indefinite fast at the Jai Prakash Narain Park, the original planned venue for the hunger strike.
Hazare, who is campaigning for a stronger lokpal bill to curtail corruption, is on hunger strike, has refused to eat said Manish Sisodia, a colleague of the activist who spoke to TV channels. Arvind Kejriwal, an RTI activist and a prominent leader of Hazare's movement, is in Tihar too, said Sisodia.
Hazare's refusal to leave Tihar prison may prove to be a headache for the government, which has been perceived to be floundering, with Congress leaders struggling to defend their earlier hardline stand against a Gandhian who has become an icon in India's war on corruption.
Today, thousands of activists plan to protest outside Tihar in support of Hazare, Rallies, candle light vigils and marches are planned across India.
This morning, sources said, Hazare got up at around 5.00 am and was involved in a discussion with Kejriwal and his
other associates who are in the prison along with him.
Sisodia today said that the "We don't have any information on when he will come out." Outside the jail premises, hundreds of people stayed through the night and expressed solidarity with Hazare and his campaign against corruption.
R K Saxena, a school teacher, said: "I am here to support this great cause. Government must accept Anna's demand for the welfare of the country."
Shouting anti-corruption slogans and holding the national tricolour, people from all walks of life started coming in
large numbers from early hours of the day and joined others who were standing outside the jail premises through the night.
Ashwaq, a 38-year-old businessman, said: "I am fasting with Anna and other supporters since yesterday. I will continue my fast till Anna is freed from the jail and all his demands are accepted by the government."
Morning walkers also joined the supporters demanding that the Government release Anna Hazare and his supporters. Rakesh, a student, said "I am fasting with Anna for the bill and to uproot corruption from the country".
"It is inhuman to punish Anna and others like this. He is fighting for the people and for the country. Government must
pass Jan Lokpal bill," Rekha Lalwani, a DU student, said.
The arrests of Hazare and his aides crippled parliament as an otherwise divided opposition closed ranks. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist called for nationwide protests Wednesday. Opposition parties want a debate in Parliament over Hazare's arrest and the Prime Minister to explain why the government took the step.
Hazare was taken into custody on Tuesday morning from a residential area in east Delhi after he refused to accept conditions set by the Delhi Police for his fast to press for his team's version of the lokpal bill. Hazare wants all fetters on his protest to be removed.