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Denied police permission to fast, Hazare decides to court arrest

Monday August 15, 2011 10:33:36 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Calling for a struggle to fight corruption and change the "anti-poor" system, social activist Anna Hazare Monday said he will court arrest Tuesday if the police does not allow him to reach the venue of his fast. He also appealed to people to go to jail in support of the anti-corruption struggle.

"We will go to JP Park tomorrow (Tuesday) for our fast. I have learnt that Section 144 (prohibiting gathering of five or more people) has been imposed. If they (police) refuse to allow us to proceed, we will sit there only. We are ready to go to jail. I appeal to people all over the country that when we go to jail, people in villages should also go to jail," Hazare told mediapersons here.

He said when the government releases them from jail they will again go on a fast. Going to jail was not a slur and should not be considered bad, he said.

"There should be a jail bharo (fill the jail) movement in villages," he said.

He urged people to stay non-violent, saying that if they resort to violence the government has the power to crush the agitation.

Hazare, who came to the venue of the press conference from Rajghat where he sat for almost 90 minutes, said that change in the system in absolutely necessary.

"The government is drunk with power. Humanity and the mother nature is being exploited. People all over the world are worried... the government is only concerned about power. We have to fight a battle on all these issues," he said.

Hazare also appealed to people to switch off lights at 8 p.m.

He said there was darkness in the country even after 64 years of Independence and admissions in educational institutions were offered for money.

Referring to Prime Minister's Independence Day speech, where he spoke about supremacy of parliament in legislation making, Hazare said they had faith in parliament.

"We have faith in parliament. When did we deny that. But the (Lokpal) bill that has been brought before parliament, why is it not proper... The government gave us assurance. It suddenly made an about-turn."

"We have to fight against corruption. Lokpal will be formed," he said, adding that if an effective Lokpal was formed, corruption will come down by 60-65 percent.

Hazare also took a dig at the United Progressive Alliance government saying its MP were in jail.

"Four MPs of this government are in jail," he said, adding many others are facing accusations.

However, he added that their intention was not to unseat the government as those who will replace it were no better.

"Only removal of government will mean nothing. The system has to be changed. But if the government does not understand and goes, we will not be worried," he said, adding that if the government does not understand the language of Mahatma Gandhi, then Shivaji will have to be sent.

Accusing the government of having policies friendly to industrialists, he said people all over the country are agitated over the question of land acquisition.

Calling for grassroots participation in the process of development, he said while 80 percent of the population was living on Rs.20 per day, there were those who earned in crores.

"Farmers were fired upon in Pune... We haven't got proper freedom," he said.




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(Photo: BM Meena)



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