New Delhi: With the political storm brewing over Anna Hazare`s detention, the government on Tuesday clarified that it was not against peaceful democratic protests, while justifying the action taken by the Delhi Police.
Addressing reporters in the national capital, Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “If someone says we will defy the orders, I think this is unacceptable in a democracy," adding, "It is a real regret that police have taken this action."
“We want to make it clear that we are not against any peaceful democratic protest provided that it meets certain rules and regulations put in place by the authorities for maintaining law and order," he said, adding, “Democratic or peaceful protests are a part of the right of a free citizen.”
"We acknowledge that right but that right is subject to conditions laid down by authorities charged with the duty to maintain law and order,” Chidambaram told reporters.
Explaining the stand taken by Delhi Police, Chidambaram said, “An application was made by the civil rights activists of the India Against Corruption on August 2 seeking permission to hold a peaceful protest on August 16. After intense discussions, Delhi Police agreed to give permission to the organizers to hold protest at proposed venues provided that they meet certain rules and regulations necessary to maintain law and order. The police also gave them a list of conditions that they were supposed to fulfill before going ahead with their agitation.”
“The supporters of Sri Anna Hazare were told to give an undertaking that they would abide by the conditions put in place by Delhi Police, but they refused to accept it. After carefully examining the situation, Delhi Police then decided that they will not be allowed to hold a protest if they don’t fulfill certain conditions and imposed prohibitory orders in and around the JP Park and other important places,” he continued.
The Home Minister further stated that some attempts were made by the police to contact Anna Hazare but it could not meet him. “Police met Anna Hazare this morning and he told them
that he intended to defy the prohibitory orders. At that time, police came to a conclusion that he will commit a congnisable offence. They invoked article 107 and 151 of CrPC which calls
for preventive measures," he told reporters.
Chidambaram said if Hazare and his supporters were not happy with the conditions imposed by the Delhi Police for their proposed stir they could have challenged it in a court of law.
"They are free to go to court even now," the Home Minister said.
He also ridiculed Hazare`s contention that their Jan Lokpal bill draft has to be considered, saying, "Laws cannot be made by social activists in a maidan."
When questioned why the UPA government was speaking on behalf of Delhi Police, the Home Minister said, “It was Delhi Police which laid down the conditions, not the government.”
The Home Minister, however, declared that Team Anna is free to go to court to challenge the restrictions imposed by police.
Shifting his focus to the adjournment of Parliament over Anna Hazare’s arrest, Chidambaram said, “It is highly unfortunate that proceedings inside the Parliament were disrupted today. In fact, I was prepared to make a statement in Parliament today but I was not allowed to do so. Our intention is that Parliament should be allowed to resume its business tomorrow.”