Anna’s Ramlila fast to begin today
New Delhi: The stand-off between Anna Hazare and government ended on Thursday with an agreement showing
give-and-take on both sides as the Gandhian will launch an
indefinite fast here from from Friday for 15 days subject to certain
Hazare will leave Tihar jail at around 10 am on Friday to head for the Ramlila Ground which will be the site of his ongoing indefinte fast for a strong Lokpal.
"Anna will leave Tihar at around 10 am Friday," his associate Kiran Bedi said.
A breakthrough in the deadlock over conditions imposed on
Hazare`s protest fast was achieved in the small hours of the
day after two nights of hard bargaining. But Hazare will spend
one more night in Tihar jail as new venue was still not ready.
Hazare got from Delhi Police the spacious Ramlila Ground
for his fast instead of the smaller J P Park, the venue
initially given with a restriction of 5,000 supporters.
Significantly, Team Hazare made it clear that his fast
would not be a fast-unto-death and he will be on hunger strike
only till his health permits.
Hazare`s close associates Kiran Bedi said the moment Dr
Naresh Trehan`s team is of the view that he needs medical
attention, he will get medical attention.
Close on the heels of the deal, Team Hazare also hinted
that it may not insist on inclusion of higher judiciary in the
Lokpal Bill if government brings a "good" Judicial
The activists also pleaded that the Jan Lokpal Bill
prepared by them should at least be brought to Parliament for
Earlier, the deal was reached in discussions between his
associates including Bedi and Prashant Bhushan and Delhi
Police Commissioner B K Gupta.
In a sort of give-and-take, Team Hazare won a number of
concessions but came down on the duration of the protest
restricting it to 15 days. Yesterday, the activists were
insisting on a longer period of at least a month for the
Home Secretary R K Singh maintained that the permission
given for the fast is conditional and is upto September 2.
"The Delhi Police discussed with Team Anna and,
thereafter, they have come to a decision. What the Delhi
Police conveyed to the Ministry of Home Affairs is that the
permission was given till September two on the usual sort of
conditions," he told reporters.
Singh said it was not proper to say the agreement was a
victory for one side and defeat for the other "but the basic
issue was that permission for certain ground and certain
period was given with some sort of conditions.
Apparently referring to the conditions put for fast
earlier proposed in JP Park, the Home Secretary said
conditions of a particular ground mandated a certain size of
crowd as well as of available parking.
Team Anna has given a two-page undertaking to police in
which they agreed to abide by existing rules and regulations
and the crowd will not exceed the capacity of the ground,
which is around 25,000 people.
In the undertaking signed by Hazare himself and his
associates -- Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Bedi and
Shanti Bhushan, they also said that if any clause of it was
violated, they would be liable to be prosecuted under law.
The clauses of the undertaking include -- no damage to
public property; gathering will not exceed the limit of the
ground; the crowd will not spill over to the nearby roads; the
protesters will cooperate with traffic police; loud speaker
use within the ambit of a Supreme Court order (10 PM limit).
Other clauses are: Arrangements of drinking water,
medical aid, mobile toilets, proper lighting; no carrying of
lathi or any weapon; no provocative slogans/ speeches; no
inflammatory slogans within 200 meters of religious or worship
places; public safety will be taken care of; no use of
Medical examination of Hazare and those who will keep
fast along with him will be conducted by government doctors
three times a day while Team Anna promised to abide by the
April 16, 2009 order of the Supreme Court which stipulated
rules and regulations for public protests.
In the morning, Bedi first broke the news of agreement
over twitter saying Hazare has accepted the Delhi Police offer
of fasting for 15 days and that he will go to Ramlila Ground
after 3 PM.
However, Kejriwal later said the ground was not yet ready
and that the Gandhian would launch the protest from there only
As concerns were voiced over the 73-year-old activist
going on fast, Bedi made it clear that it would be an
indefinite protest but not a fast-unto-death. She said Hazare
would be on fast till his health permits.
He said Hazare would stay for one more night in Tihar
jail, which has been his home for the last two nights since
his arrest on Tuesday morning before he was to launch his fast
demanding a Lokpal that would also cover the Prime Minister,
higher judiciary and MPs conduct inside Parliament.
Hazare refused to move out of the jail despite his
unconditional release on Tuesday night and instead resorted to
hard bargaining through his emissaries extracting concession
The police decision to allow Hazare to fast in Ramlila
Ground came after government faced all-round attack from the
Opposition in Parliament and nation-wide protests by thousands
of Hazare supporters who took to the streets.
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