Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World’s largest democracy attempts to crush anti-graft crusade

A day after the world’s largest democracy (India) celebrated its 65th anniversary of Independence, the Indian government arrested the non-violent resister and anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare from the place he was staying at in the suburbs of Delhi. His close associates Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi also courted arrest.
Anna was scheduled to hold a fast unto death against corruption in J P Park in Delhi on Tuesday as the government failed to table a strong anti-graft (Lokpal) bill in the parliament. The Delhi police had put a demand of 22 conditions including unconstitutional conditions like a cap on max 3 days of protest and no more than 5000 people can be part of it, in order to allow him to use J P Park for his protest. Anna and his team didn’t agree to the unreasonable terms and declared that they will go ahead with the fast and court arrest if required. Delhi police took a preventive step and arrested him before he could leave for J P Park from his place of stay.
Yesterday, Anna in a surprise move went to Rajghat (The memorial of Mahatama Gandhi) for silent prayers before starting his scheduled campaign today with a fast unto death.
He described this detention as the start of the second freedom struggle. "My dear countrymen, second freedom struggle has begun and now I have also been arrested. But will this movement be stopped by my arrest. No not at all. Don't let it happen," Hazare said soon after being detained by police.
Anna asked people to court arrest and go to jails as part of the countrywide agitation against corruption and to demand a strong lokpal (anti-graft) bill. This has evoked countrywide protests.
Following his arrest, many of his followers also courted arrest; due to lack of space in jail the Delhi police detained the people and took them to a stadium.
Anna has started his fast in police custody and has appealed to his followers to continue the campaign and not to take path of violence. 
The Parliament on Tuesday witnessed uproarious scenes shortly after it assembled for its ongoing Monsoon Session over the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare ahead of his indefinite fast for a strong Lokpal Bill.
Both houses of Indian parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) were adjourned amid noisy scenes and arguments between the opposition and treasury benches over Anna's arrest.