The arrest of Anna Hazare ahead of his fast sparked protests across the country today with his supporters from different walks of life taking to the streets and demanding his immediate release denouncing the police action as undemocratic.
According to reports from the state capitals, hundreds of people were detained by police in different cities and town after they gathered in the main thoroughfares, shouting slogans against the UPA government protesting the arrest. They were later released.
The protests were peaceful and no violence was reported from any part of the country, the reports said.
The 73-year-old Gandhian’s native village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra observed a bandh. Protesting farmers came out on the roads along with their cattle and blocked the traffic.
“The entire village is observing a bandh today,” said Hazare’s associate Datta Awari, adding that villagers have decided to observe a fast to express solidarity with him.
“Approximately, 3,000-4,000 people have been detained and released across Mumbai,” City Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik said, adding they were picked up on the charges of unlawful assembly after they held demonstrations.
Wearing Gandhi-caps which had “I Am Anna Hazare” etched on it, the protesters carrying placards ‘Say no to corruption and yes to Jan Lok Pal’ came from diverse background and included senior citizens, freedom fighters, youths and students. Several demonstrators courted arrest.
Many wearing the “trade-mark” Anna “topi” and “India Against Corruption” T-shirts, several students boycotted classes to be part of the “movement” in Bangalore while hundreds of techies took a break from work and poured into the streets in Electronic city.
A section of the demonstrators in several cities observed fast while several others sang patriotic songs.
In the Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad, some of the agitators got their heads shaved to protest the arrest of Hazare in an early morning crackdown in Delhi.
As many as 219 people were arrested in various districts in Uttar Pradesh, when Hazare’s supporters took to the streets in the state, Special Director General of Police Brij Lal told reporters in Lucknow.
In UP’s Etah, lawyers staged dharnas while in Gonda, they abstained from all court work and disrupted road traffic on the National Highway for over an hour.
In Basti, supporters of the Gandhian burnt copies of the government Lokpal bill while in Gauriganj(CSM nagar) Sultanpur and Ballia, effigies of central government were burnt.
There had been other no law and order problem anywhere in Uttar Pradesh, Brij Lal added.
Criticising the police action action on Hazare, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishak today termed the arrest of the anti-graft crusader as “undemocratic”.
“This is undemocratic to stop anyone to hold a non-violent and peaceful agitation against corruption,” Nishank said in a statement here.
Pledging their support to Hazare, around 500 people from all walks of life took out a procession in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
However, the Congress unit in Rajasthan came down heavily on the social activist claiming that his intentions were not “good” and alleging that the BJP was “using” Hazare for its own political interest.
“Anna Hazare’s intentions are not good and his arrest was made in the national capital to keep law and order situation under control,” PCC President Chandrabhan said at a political meeting in Malpura Assembly constituency here.
Meanwhile the CPI in Rajasthan termed the police action against Hazare as unconstitutional and undemocratic and said the party will observe tomorrow as a protest day demanding Hazare’s release and a strong Lokpal bill.
Traders of walled city areas in Jaipur announced a four-day protest in support of Hazare and took out a rally in the Pink City.
In Jodhpur the High court lawyers and advocates body today decided to boycott the work in the courts tomorrow justifying Hazare’s fight and terming the move of the government as amounting to hurting the constitutional rights to peaceful demonstration and democratic values.
In Punjab, the Chandigarh Administration today clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC banning assembly of five or more persons in the Union Territory.
District Magistrate Chandigarh Birjendra Singh has issued prohibitory orders amid apprehensions that some groups may cause try to hamper the law and order situation.
In Hoshiarpur activists of various political parties and NGOs participated held protest meetings, criticising the police action.
In UP’s Gorakhpur hundreds of Hazare’s supporters staged a sit-in at the Gandhi statue at townhall here. However, according to police no untoward incident has been reported from any part of the city and no arrest has been made.
In Ghaziabad, an effigy of the Union government was burnt by agitators today who protested against the arrest of social activist.
Large number of people took out procession in Vaishali, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, Modinagar, Pilakhuwa, Hapur, Loni, Garhmukteshwar and Sahibabad.
Protests in Hazare’s Hometown After His Detention
As the news of Anna’s detention spread in social activist Anna Hazare’s village in Ahmednagar district, people in the village gathered at the traffic intersection and blocked the vehicular traffic, including some state transport buses.
“The entire village is observing a bandh today,” Hazare’s associate Datta Awari told PTI.
Youth and school students have also joined the protests, Awari added.
Member of Ralegan Siddhi gram panchayat Bheema Pote said that by detaining Anna, the government itself has acted against the constitutional rights of citizens.
Villagers have also decided to observe a fast today in protest of the detention, Pote said.
Hazare’s supporters will also hold peaceful demonstration in front of the District Collectorate in Ahmednagar city at 11 am today.
A group of Anna Hazare supporters held a protest outside a government facility in Civil Lines area of North Delhi where the Gandhian and lawyer Shanti Bhushan were brought following their detention.
The protesters, who shouted anti-government slogans and termed the police action as “totally un-constitutional”, were detained by police as they did not heed to police’s direction to disperse.
Earlier, shouting slogans against the Congress government at the Centre, the protesters sat on a dharna on the road leading to the Police Mess complex where Hazare and Bhushan are being kept.
“This is highly condemnable. This Congress government should go. They are not allowing protest which is our democratic right,” said Akash Sharma, a software professional who bunked office and came here to express solidarity with Team Anna.
Some protesters, who refused to get up from the road, were forcibly lifted and taken into custody.
The Police had erected barricades on both sides of the road leading to Civil lines police mess, besides making heavy deployment of its personnel.
Demanding release of Hazare, Kejriwal, Bedi, Bhushan, the protestors shouted slogans like ‘We salute Anna Hazare’, ‘Weed out corrupt system’ and ‘Save the country from corrupt politicians’.
“This is a well planned strategy by the government. Barricades have been put up here before Hazare was detained. They are trying to stifle democracy,” said Kishan Chowdhry, a resident of Adarsh Nagar, who came to protest outside the police mess.
Supporters of Anna Hazare called the detention of the social activist “unconstitutional” as they began their relay-strike in the city, saying that Police action against Anna was completely unconstitutional and the people of Jaipur were in his support.
The activists, demanding a strong Lokpal Bill, began their three-day relay-strike at Udyog Maidan near statue circle here.
“Each day, 25 people will sit on the strike in Anna’s support,” Laxman said, adding that a rally has also been proposed in support of Anna, who was detained in New Delhi this morning.
Over 55 persons from Ranchi were taken into preventive custody during the day-long protests and demonstrations by various organisations here following the arrest of civil right activist Anna Hazare in Delhi.
All of them were let off after a few hours, police said.
“India Against Corruption, Jharkhand chapter,convener Sanjay Seth, who was among the detained demonstrators, said hundreds of people from different walks of life staged demonstration at Albert Ekka Chowk and other places across the state to protest the arrest of Hazare.
“We have decided to observe black day tomorrow. All our activists will wear black dresses and black flags will be put on vehicles, shops and our houses till Anna Hazare is released from custody,” Seth told reporters here.
The ’74 Chetna Manch, a forum comprising participants of Jayaprakash Narayan movement, also staged a sit-in to support Hazare’s demand for an ‘effective’ anti-corruption bill.
Pitching in his support, Jharkhand Assembly Speaker C P Singh termed the arrest of the civil right activist as “undemocratic” that “scuttled” his fundamental right.
“It looks as if we are witnessing scenes of pre-emergency days,” Singh, who had been an active protester during the Jaiprakash Narayan movement said.
Over 40 protesters were detained here when they demonstrated over the police action against social activist Anna Hazare, police said today.
“Hazare’s supporters had gathered at the Buddha lake area and marched towards the Collector’s office. As demonstrating outside the Collector’s office is not allowed, 44 people were detained and then later released,” Additional SP, Raipur, Lal Umed Singh told.
The protesters raised slogans supporting Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign and condemning the government for “anti-democratic” measures.
Similar demonstrations were witnessed in Bilaspur, Raigarh, Korba, Rajnandgaon, Durg and Bhilai cities.
Rights activists, writers, artists and professionals from different walks in Kerala today came out under “Citizen’s Forum” and organised a fast in the state capital protesting Hazare’s arrest and pledging support to his struggle for probity in public life and an effective Jan Lokpal legislation.
Several youths, including IT professionals, gathered under the banner of “India Against Corruption” here in support of the anti-graft movement launched by the Gandhian.
“There is no justification for the arrest of Hazare. His campaign is not going to be suppressed through this undemocratic action. He is certain to gain massive support from all parts of the nation in the coming days,” an activist said.
People from all walks of life, including advocates and academicians, took to streets at several places in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana voicing their support to civil society members in their crusade against corruption.
In Chandigarh, several intersections and round abouts were blocked by people, including advocates, officials said here.A long queue of stranded vehicles was seen on several roads in Chandigarh in the wake of blockades laid by people.
At the rally ground in Chandigarh, another NGO ‘India Against Corruption’ decided to sit on hunger strike in support of the civil society members.
NGO’s founder member Davinder Sharma told reporters that five people from the NGO would sit on relay hunger strike till the government comes out with a strong Lokpal bill.
“I don’t feel that I am living in world’s largest democracy,” Shammy Choudhary, a law student with Panjab University, said.
Uttar Pradesh And Bihar
Social activist Anna Hazare’s supporters organised meetings and staged demonstrations across Uttar Pradesh, protesting his detention.
Shouting slogans against the UPA government, a number of social activists and common man held protest at Gandhi Statue in Hazratganj, Lucknow.
Activists of India Against Corruption (IAC), joined by several teachers, lawyers and students staged a sit-in demonstration at Jhulelal park in the city.
“Why in a democratic country like us, an old aged person like Anna has been denied to hold agitation and that too against the burning issue of corruption…We stand by Anna and will do whatever is needed to root out corruption,” said Pawan Upadhyay, a lawyer.
Similar demonstrations and hunger-strikes were reported from Gorakhpur, Gonda, Varanasi, Allahabad and others cities of the state.
Bihar unit of India Against Corruption, the umbrella body of the citizen’s movement fighting for strong Lokpal, today held fast and demonstrations at different places in Bihar to protest against detention of Anna Hazare.
Activists under the banner of India Against Corruption brought out protest march in Purnia, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur against the detention.
Demanding that the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh concede the demand for “a strong and effective” Jan Lokpal bill, several activists of the Patna branch of IAC assembled at the Kargil Chowk here and sat on fast.
They shouted anti-government slogans against the detention of Anna and his aides.
Talking to reporters, IAC’s Bihar branch Convenor Ratnesh Kumar Choudhary and Media in-charge Sanjay Duta said the agitation would continue till the government orders release of Anna and others and concedes the demand for Jan Lokpal.
Meanwhile, Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari along with his fans held demonstration in Patna to protest against the detention of Anna Hazare.
“I think the support for the movement against corruption will swell… I supported the fast launched by Yoga Guru Ramdev and I am supporting Anna’s movement and will continue to support it,” Tiwari said.
“I think all righteous people will support the fight against corruption,” he said.
Meanwhile, state JD(U) president Bashishtha Narain Singh slammed the Centre for detaining Anna Hazare and his team.
“Anna’s detention is a shameless attack on Indian Constitution,” he said.
State CPI-ML secretary N K Yadav said his party activists held state-wide protests against the government for arresting Hazare and burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
JD(U) took out a procession from the party office at Veerchand Path up to the busy Dak Bungalow roundabout to protest against the arrest of the social activist Anna Hazare by the Delhi police.
Speaking on the occasion, state JD(U) president Vashistha Narayan Singh said the Centre’s ‘dictatorial action’ in arresting Hazare for exercising his fundamental and democratic rights to protest was reminiscent of Emergency in 1975.
He demanded an unconditional release of the social activist.
Protests were held in many parts of Gujarat as well against the arrest of Anna Hazare with people sitting on dharnas, shouting slogans and some shopkeepers closing their outlets for the day.
In Surat, protests were held by the local ABVP members in different parts of the city. Some of the shops in Surat Diamond market remained closed as mark of protest against the arrest of Hazare.
“Traders at the diamond markets at mini bazaar and Mahidarpura have pulled down shutters as mark of support to Anna Hazare. I don’t know when they are going to re-open the units because it is a step taken voluntarily by them,” Surat Diamond Association (SDA) President Dinesh Navadia said.
In Ahmedabad, sit-in demonstrations and slogan-shouting were held at Income Tax circle and near the Town Hall by volunteers of local NGOs, terming the arrest of Hazare as illegal and unconstitutional.
In Vadodara, former BJP leader Nalin Bhatt submitted a memorandum to the district collector while demonstrations were held in Raupura area of the city where people criticized the move by the Delhi government.
In Nadiad, district headquarters of Kheda district, supporters of Hazare stopped the Mumbai-bound Shatabdi Express at the railway station for 10 minutes. The train began its journey only after the Railway Police Force intervened and detained 50 odd protesters.
In Rajkot, over hundred people including some senior citizens held demonstrations with some of them also sitting on fast till Hazare was released.
Over 100 ABVP members and some local NGOs had gathered at the Lalbungalow circle in Jamnagar and shouted slogans against the Congress government.
Bhavnagar also saw some groups supporting Hazare and demonstrating near Ghoghagate area of the city.
In Kheralu taluka of Mehsana district, some local BJP leaders and supporters of Hazare handed over a memorandum to the mamlatdar there.
Civil rights activists today staged demonstration in support of Anna Hazare and his anti-corruption stir and demanded his release.
Launching their campaign ‘India against Corruption’, activists under the banner of ‘Citizens Forum’ staged a dharna at Salt Lake demanding the Gandhian leader’s release.
The Forum activists alleged that the government Lokpal bill provides greater protection to the corrupt.
Another rights group under the banner of “Jago” undertook a hunger strike at Metro channel in the heart of the city to protest against the arrest of Hazare.
Holding a banner “break your silence against corruption.
Demonstrations and dharnas were held in several places of Orissa. People belonging to different spheres, including social activists, artists, writers and intellectuals, hit the streets holding placards and banners and shouting slogans against the police crack-down on Hazare.
In the state capital, activists of various outfits, including ‘India Against Corruption’, staged dharna along the Mahatma Gandhi Marg extending full support to Hazare in his struggle for an effective Jan Lokpal legislation.
Dubbing the action on Hazare as “murder of democracy,” rights activist Prafulla Samantara said people were backing the movement for ensuring probity in public life.
A number of youths from different walks of life also staged a hunger strike under the banner of ‘Orissa Against Corruption’ expressing solidarity with the anti-corruption movement launched by Hazare.
Reports of demonstrations, dharnas and rallies in support of Hazare and his movement were also received from Berhampur, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Puri, Rourkela, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Rayagada, Keonjhar and Bhawanipatna.
A motor-cycle procession was taken out in Sambalpur against Hazare’s detention.
People from all walks of life staged a one-day fast at various places across Tamil Nadu in support of Anna Hazare’s demand for a strong Lokpal bill.
In Chennai, over 60 persons gathered near Quaid E Milleth memorial here in support of Hazare’s cause, carrying banners saying ‘Say no to corruption and yes to Jan Lok Pal.”
Many among them belonged to Federation of Anti Corruption Teams India, an NGO against corruption.
A Coimbatore report said that hundreds of activists, including women, from various organisations observed the fast in response to a call given by the local chapter of Anti Corruption Movement, to support Hazare’s cause.
The activists belonging to Hindu Makkal Katchi, Gandhi Makkal Iyakkam, Voice and Hanuman Sena were critical of Delhi police and the Centre for detaining Hazare and arresting his aides Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan, police said.
However, the nearby textile hub of Tirupur did not witness much of an impact, police said.
In Madurai, members of various Hindu organisations, including Tamil Nadu Pengal Meetpu Peravai (Organisation to save women from Problem) staged the fast at Kalayar kovil area.
Slamming the UPA government for the detention of Anna Hazare, political parties and supporters of the Gandhian leader called the move “unconstitutional” and demanded his immediate release.
Over 300 supporters of Hazare blocked the traffic at Satwari Chowk on Jammu-Srinagar national highway and raised slogans against the UPA government.
They lambasted the government for putting forth a ‘weak’ Lokpal Bill in Parliament without taking Prime Minister and Judges under its ambit.
“We will intensify the protests if Anna is not released. We will court arrest in a large number as Anna is a face of the common man,” said Om Prakash Sharma, who sat on a fast-unto-death at the Satwari Chowk, holding Hazare’s picture and the tricolour.
“Instead of fighting against corruption, the Government is now fighting against Anna,” he said.
A sit-in demonstration was also held in front of the Press Club here by several social organisations under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Sangrash Movement.
Samajwadi Party State Chief Sheikh Abdul Rehman said, “Jammu is fully backing Anna and the Lokpal Bill. Police and the Central government have done an unconstitutional act by arresting Anna, who was peacefully protesting over Lokpal.”
“What type of democracy are we talking about? It is totally autocracy, and emergency seems to be back,” former MP Rehman said.
Rallies in support of Anna were also held at Purani Mandi chowk, Janipur chowk, Manda Belt, Muthi, Gandhi Nagar and Gangyal area of the city by various social, trade and community organisations.
The protesters demanded that Hazare should be released immediately and a strong Lokpal bill be adopted by Parliament by including PM and Judges under its ambit.
BJP spokesperson S Arora said the Government had turned “autocratic” and taken an unconstitutional step by arresting Anna.
Over 400 activists of the Shiv Sena wearing chains held a march in the old city area.
“We demand that Anna should be released immediately. Government should tender apology to the people of country and Anna for his arrest,” party state chief Ashok Gupta said.
Jammu Bar Association also went on a strike, demanding the Gandhian leader’s release.
“We are observing a total strike in support of Anna,” Jammu Bar Association President, B S Salathia said.
“The government should solve the issue rather than suppressing it,” he said.
Responding to social activist Anna Hazare’s call to fill jails as part of his campaign against corruption and demand for a strong Lokpal Bill, his supporters today courted arrests in Mumbai, while protests against his detention gathered momentum across Maharashtra.
Thousands of supporters of Hazare, gathered at Azad Maidan in the metropolis, were all set for ‘Jail Bharo’ after his detention by Delhi police early this morning.
“Around 50 to 70 people will fill up jails every half-and-hour. We would start this from 2 pm with women supporters, followed by youth and then the rest,” Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai unit in-charge of India Against Corruption (IAC) told PTI.
Social activist Medha Patkar led the protests at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.
“We had expected that Anna Hazare would be detained, but had not thought that it would happen so soon. After Baba Ramdev’s incident, we expected something similar. The government can go to any level to curb our protest against corruption,” Gandhi said.
In Nagpur, a large number of people including activists Umesh Choube and noted economist Srinivas Khandewale today courted arrest extending support to Hazare’s call for a effective Lokpal Bill.
Sporting ‘Gandhi’ caps with slogans ‘I am Anna’ supporters gathered at the Reserve Bank of India Square in Civil Lines on busy Nagpur-Jabalpur national highway.
A good number of women and college students in their uniforms sporting badges were present at the RBI square.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party of India (RPI) has extended support to Hazare’s movement against corruption, party leader Ramdas Athawale said in Mumbai today.
RPI workers will be joining Hazare’s supporters with blue flags all over Maharashtra and support the jail bharo andolan, Athawale said.
Pune And Nashik
Supporters of Anna Hazare gathered at a square in Pune to condemn the police action and his detention.
Carrying placards, scores of people raised slogans at Balgandharva square, supporting Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign and condemning the government for “anti-democratic” measures.
The protesters took out a morcha through the streets before staging a noisy protest demonstration, in which, many youths and social activists participated.
Meanwhile, activists of Nashik District Bhrashtachar Virodi Andolan’, also took out a rally through the main streets of the city protesting against the police action.
Wearing Gandhi-caps, written with ‘Mi Anna Hazare’ (I Am Anna Hazare) and shouting anti-UPA slogans, hundreds of people, including senior citizens, freedom fighters, youths, participated in the rally.
Meanwhile, around 300 activists today courted arrest in support of anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare at outside the District Collectorate in Nashik.
The activists led by P B Karanjkar of Nashik District Brhastachar Virodhi Andolan, CITU leader D L Karad among others were rounded up from in front of the Collector’s office this evening here when they tried to organise a ‘jail bharo’ protest, city ACP Ganesh Shinde said.
Earlier, the agitators took out a rally from Hutatma Chowk through the main streets of the city and held a sit-in protest in front of collector’s office shouting anti-government slogans, he added.
Many prominent people from all walks of life besides youth joined the spontaneous protest to weed out corruption.
The protesters staged a ‘rasta roko’ on the Mumbai Agra national highway at Pimpalgaon Baswant village thus affecting the vehicular traffic, police said.
Many organisations, including the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCI), also extended their support for the call given by the Gandhian.
Hundreds of Anna Hazare supporters here also courted arrest against the police action on their leader in Delhi this morning.
The activists of India Against Corruption, an NGO inspired by the Gandhian, walked into the Panaji police station, following a public meeting at the historic Azad Maidan here.
The speakers demanded that central government should not try to suppress the voice of common man on the street by opting for tactics like what they adopted towards Anna.
“Its shameful for us that politicians are acting so blatantly against crusaders of corruption. These politicians have parked their millions abroad and are worried that people will expose them,” Satish Sonak, a prominent leader of India Against Corruption, said addressing a gathering.
Hazare’s movement elicited support from renowned freedom fighters like Madhavi Desai, who recalled their ‘satyagraha’ held in Panaji to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule.
“What’s the use of independence if we have to suffer same atrocities at the hands of our own people?” she questioned.
Desai, a veteran Marathi writer said it is time for the entire India to get together and throw away corrupt people who have left the country bleeding.
After a two-hour-long public meeting, the activists later decided to court arrest themselves and walked into the Panaji police station situated across Azad Maidan.
“I am Anna Hazare and my address is India Against Corruption,” the first activist who courted arrest told policemen. All other activists too gave their name as Anna Hazare except for a few from Bharat Swabhiman Trust.
Teachers and students of the premier North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here today staged a demonstration condemning the arrest of Anna Hazare and his team in Delhi, saying it was an infringement of one’s right to freedom of expression and freedom to peaceful protest.
The NEHU community– the students, teachers and non-teaching employees– held a meeting today in connection with the general awareness about JanLokpak bill, senior teacher S B Prasad said.
Students displayed placards against corruption and expressed anguish at the detention of Anna Hazare.
A resolution adopted at the meeting conveyed solidarity with Team Anna in their crusade against corruption.
“We also express our deep anguish at the way in which freedom of expression and freedom to peaceful protest has been trampled by the authorities of the State. We pledge to bring corruption to an end,” the resolution signed by a number of teachers and students said.