Thursday, August 18, 2011

DTN News - ANNA HAZARE INDIA NEWS: Anti-Corruption Crusader Anna Hazare Team Gives Undertaking For Protests

Defense War News Updates: DTN News - ANNA HAZARE INDIA NEWS: Anti-Corruption Crusader Anna Hazare Team Gives Undertaking For Protests
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - August 18, 2011: India’s central government ignited a political crisis when it put the anti-corruption leader Anna Hazare in jail – and then, they couldn’t get him out.

Anna Hazare, a 74-year-old long-time activist who has become the face of a populist movement against graft, was ordered released Tuesday night. But he refused to leave the prison until the government withdrew restrictions on his planned protest. He remained behind bars Thursday morning, but he was reported to have agreed to a deal with police to allow him to stage a 15-day hunger strike in a public park. The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, meanwhile, was left fumbling awkwardly.

Anna Hazare, a social activist, is usually based in a village in the western state of Maharashtra, where he advocates living by Gandhian principles. He rose to his current prominence when he came to New Delhi in April to stage a “fast unto death,” unless the government created a lokpal, or ombudsperson, with sweeping powers to investigate corruption. Anna Hazare was angry, in particular, at what’s being called the “2G scam,” in which the former telecommunications minister held a corrupt auction for the country’s cellular network license and cost the treasury as much as $40-billion. The ex-minister, plus a handful of senior government figures and business people, are now awaiting trial, held in the same jail that Anna Hazare won’t leave.

The grand corruption cases anger many Indians, but it is the daily rota of bribes they must pay to obtain basic services that are the chief preoccupation of Anna Hazare’s largely middle-class, urban supporters.

Back in April, the government capitulated on the fourth day of his fast and invited his supporters to help draft an anti-corruption bill, even though there are already strong laws in place, if not enforced. But when the bill was tabled a few weeks ago, in a form that left the office of the Prime Minister outside the lokpal purview, Anna Hazare said he would gather his followers and resume his fast this week. He insisted that it must be his law or he would not eat until he died – a “non-violent” protest technique Mahatma Gandhi used.

Team Anna has given a two-page undertaking to police on its protest fast in Ramlila Maidan, saying they would 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 Anna Hazare himself and his associates -- Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Kiran 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 permission for the fast has been given till September 2, 2011, official sources said.

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 (10pm 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 crackers.

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.

The undertaking was given to the deputy commissioner of police, Central District, of Delhi Police.

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