New Delhi: With Delhi Police refusing
permission for day-long hunger strike at Jantar Mantar
tomorrow, civil rights activist Anna Hazare Tuesday decided to
shift the venue to Rajghat to avoid confrontation.
The announcement was made by his associates Arvind
Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi, while contending
the denial permission to hold peaceful protest was against the
basic Constitutional rights of citizens.
Hazare and others will launch the day-long hunger
strike to protest the crackdown against Ramdev`s congregation
against corruption at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday night.
The Hazare-led protest will be held in the vicinity of
Rajghat from 10 am tomorrow and will be accompanied by fast,
an all-religion prayer meeting and a debate on Lokpal Bill.
"The Delhi Police Commissioner (B K Gupta) has told us
that there is no permission to sit (on fast) there (Jantar
Mantar) and directed us not to sit there," Bhushan said about
the venue which falls in New Delhi district where Section 144
has been imposed to prohibit gathering of more than four
persons at one place.
"We are not fighting with them (police)," he told
reporters adding that they had accordingly decided to shift
the venue to Rajghat where Section 144 is not in force.
Kejriwal said, "we have no intention for
confrontation. Our intention is only for peaceful protest."
At the same time, he said the denial permission was
violation of Article 19(1) and 19(2) which gives freedom of
speech to everyone.
Echoing Kejriwal`s views, Bhushan said the Delhi
Police should not do this otherwise people will have to resort
to other means to express themselves.
A senior police official today said they have refused
permission for the fast at Jantar Mantar while citing
prohibitory orders at the site after the police action against
Baba Ramdev in Ramlila Maidan on Sunday.
Kejriwal, who earlier in the day claimed that no one
can stop Hazare from protesting at Jantar Mantar, said their
protest will be "very peaceful".
Earlier in the day, he had said, "from whom should we
seek permission? They are not our masters. People of this
country are the masters. Government is not our master,
unfortunately they have started behaving like they are our
Justice Santosh Hegde, who is the Karnataka Lokayukta,
said he will not join any fast or demonstration till he was
holding a public post but noted that the move to impose
Section 144 and denying permission to Hazare "indicates a
weakness" on the part of the government.
"The actions of the government against Baba Ramdev
shows they are scared of him," he alleged, adding he was not
asking anybody to defy the law.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman said the police
decision not to allow protest at Jantar Mantar "clearly"
showed that the government is neither prepared to engage with
the civil society nor it is clear about the strategy with
which it has to negotiate on issues which are confronting it.