Resolute Team Anna won’t call off fast

Team Anna on Thursday ruled out calling off their indefinite fast, even in the wake of several members’ health deteriorating to a dangerous level.

Updated: Aug 02, 2012, 13:32 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Team Anna on Thursday ruled out calling off their indefinite fast, even in the wake of several members’ health deteriorating to a dangerous level.

Kiran Bedi said Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai - key members of Team Anna - will continue with their fast.

"All the three have repeatedly said that they are here for sacrifice. They will not get prevailed upon. They are very determined themselves," Bedi said.

She also tweeted a list of 23 eminent citizens who urged Anna “to give up fast and offer instead a political alternative”.

All three have refused hospitalisation despite their health condition worsening and a warning from police that organisers will be "squarely responsible" if anything happens to the fasting activists.
Doctors attending on Kejriwal said he has refused to take liquid diet.

While Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai have been sitting on fast at Jantar Mantar since July 25, Anna Hazare joined the hunger strike on July 29.

Hazare, whose fast entered the fifth day, held discussions with the three fasting activists and Bedi in the morning.

None of the fasting activists took to the dais till 11:30 am though a crowd of around 500 gathered at the protest venue at Jantar Mantar here. Hazare came to the stage along with Bollywood actor Anupam Kher a little later.

Kher appealed to activists to end their hunger strike, saying their leadership is necessary for taking the anti-corruption movement forward.

"It is our duty to raise voice against corruption. It is necessary that this voice reaches the masses. I appeal to all fasting activists, including Arvind, to call off their fast," he told reporters at Jantar Mantar.

On Wednesday, the Delhi Police had written to Team Anna, requesting them to get Kejriwal and two other fasting activists shifted to hospital.

Fearing forcible hospitalisation of the fasting activists, scores of Team Anna supporters kept vigil throughout the night at the protest venue.

The intervening night of August 1 and 2 saw around 300 supporters camping at the protest venue and keeping a watch on every step of policemen.

At 1 am, even the routine change of duty of police personnel was initially perceived by protesters as a sign of mobilisation to forcibly take Kejriwal and two others to hospital.

A volunteer immediately alerted others and as supporters started gathering, a senior police official informed them that it was change of duty of personnel and they were there not to take anybody to hospital.

As the health condition of team members is deteriorating, the big worry at this point is that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government seems to be in no mood to engage with the anti-corruption activists.

There was no move from the government to initiate a dialogue with the protesters to end the stir.

Anna Hazare yesterday saw a conspiracy by the government to end the stir by forcibly removing them from the Jantar Mantar protest site. He warned that he will not negotiate with the government if it adopts such a strategy.

Kejriwal, who remained defiant, said he does not have trust in the government doctors and refused to share medical reports with them. "There is a conspiracy to forcibly take me to hospital. I don`t have trust in government doctors," he said.

Congress, in its response, said it is a "dangerous statement" and Team Anna was "inciting people".

The night also saw groups of protesters leaving for residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to stage protest in a bid to step up pressure on the government to initiate talks.

Security has been stepped up at the site following yesterday`s bomb explosions in Pune. Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the protest venue and bomb disposal squads were pressed to check the site last night and early this morning.

(With PTI inputs)