New Delhi: Police used
tear gas and water cannons as hundreds of anti-corruption
activists led by Arvind Kejriwal staged noisy protests near Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's
homes. Congratulating the protesters, Anna Hazare said he felt the
time "for complete change and a second freedom movement had
Just 20 days after Hazare's Team Anna was disbanded, Kejriwal, a
member of the former grouping, led hundreds of India Against
Corruption (IAC) supporters to besiege the residences of Manmohan
Singh, Gandhi and BJP president Nitin Gadkari. However, they were
stopped by police and detained. Kejriwal was detained twice, once
in the morning and a second time when he led the agitators again
to besiege the prime minister and Congress president's house after
Hazare, in a blog in the evening, congratulated the protesters and
said he "felt that the time for change has come".
Hazare, who sat on four fasts in the national capital to demand a
Jan Lokpal bill for creating an ombudsman to tackle corruption,
said in the blog that it pained him to watch the youthful
protesters getting cane-charged by police. But, he added "In order
to succeed in the second war of freedom, one has to get used to
beatings, and if it comes to that, then even face bullets. For
complete change (in governance) the second freedom struggle has
Though the IAC had also called for protests outside BJP president
Nitin Gadkari's residence, blaming both the Congress and BJP for
the irregular coal blocks allocations, the main focus seemed to be
the prime minister and Gandhi.
An official source said Manmohan Singh was at home when the
protests took place. "He was busy with work," the source told
The one notable absentee Sunday was former Team Anna member Kiran
Asked about her, Kejriwal said: "On this issue she probably feels
that the BJP can give the country a good government. But the BJP
Kejriwal had said Saturday that Bedi was with them, and Bedi had
stated she "fully supports" Kejriwal's protest call.
In a clear sign that IAC was not focussing only on the Congress,
its members staged similar demonstrations in various state
capitals including Jaipur, Bhopal, Bangalore, Mumbai and
Bhubaneshwar, IAC told IANS.
After he was released by police in the morning, Kejriwal and the
IAC members marched in separate groups from Jantar Mantar towards
the residences of the prime minister, on Race Course Road, towards
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's house on Janpath and BJP president
Nitin Gadkari's house on Tughlaq Road.
This time, police used used water canons on the protesters and
lobbed teargas on them and also caned some protesters to disperse
Besides Kejriwal, the other IAC members detained were Prashant
Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas. Hundreds of IAC
supporters were also detained and let off later.
Kejriwal told reporters that it was their intention to show the
people that "There is no opposition left in this country. All
parties are hand in glove with the Congress" over coal allocation.
He called off the protest in the afternoon.
Late in the evening, Kejriwal tweeted that "this political
revolution would sweep the whole country in times to come".
Kejriwal said the "political alternative" started by Anna Hazare
would be a party "under law but it would be a political revolution
In a late evening statement, Kejriwal voiced unhappiness over
"police atrocity in Bhopal" on IAC supporters.
He said that IAC members in Bhopal were beaten up "very badly"
while holding protests against corruption by the BJP government of
Shivraj Singh Chouhan. He said 25 people, including six women, had
been arrested. He announced his intention to sit on dharna on
Tuesday outside the chief minister's residence and "offer himself
for arrest" in protest against the police action.