Amid high drama, Gandhian activist Anna Hazare was detained
Tuesday morning by the Delhi Police as he was about to set out for
his fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill.
Around 250 of his supporters, including activist Arvind Kejriwal
and former top cop Kiran Bedi, were also detained.
Hazare and Kejriwal left their flat in Supreme Enclave in east
Delhi for their fast at Jaiprakash Narayan Park. As they got out
of the lift in the apartment complex, around 20 police officers in
plain clothes encircled them and whisked them away in a police van
to an undisclosed location.
Hazare's supporters, who had gathered in hundreds in the apartment
complex, shouted anti-government slogans and praised the social
The police formed a human chain on the road to prevent any
Just before his arrest, Hazare told a news channel: "Don't let my
arrest stop this movement. This is the nation's second struggle
for freedom. The entire world has come to know how deep rooted
He added: "I appeal to you that let there be no violence in this
movement. I also appeal to you, young and old alike, to give eight
days of your life to the nation - if necessary for a jail bharo
Prashant Bhushan, one of Hazare's team members, said: "Anna's
arrest is illegal, unconstitutional...this government has no faith
in democratic values. It has become dictatorial. This situation is
like the emergency period."
Ramon Magsaysay award winner Bedi, who was detained from Rajghat,
said: "When Anna asked on what charges was he arrested, the police
said that they have just been given orders."
"The Delhi Police is capable of handling such peaceful
protests...these (arrests) are just orders from above. It's during
the emergency that such things used to happen, arrests just
because there were orders," she added.
Minister Manmohan Singh has scheduled an emergency meeting of the
cabinet Committee on Political Affairs in Parliament House at
10.15 a.m. Tuesday following the detention of Gandhian activist
Anna Hazare in the morning.
The meeting will take stock of the situation arising out of
Hazare's detention by the Delhi Police early morning, hours before
he was set to proceed on an indefinite fast demanding a stronger
Lokpal Bill to deal with the corrupt.
Others scheduled to attend the meeting include Home Minister P.
Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister
A.K. Antony and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, officials in
Prime Minister's Office said.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Renewable Energy Minister
Farooq Abdullah, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal
and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi are also scheduled to attend
the meeting, they added.