15-day fast may be prolonged: Team Anna

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Social activist, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, addressing media persons after his release from Tihar Jail on Thursday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.   -  The Hindu

Team Anna today said that the 15-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill may go beyond the period depending upon the Government’s response to the agitation.

Mr Hazare’s associate and RTI activist, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, said the 73-year-old Gandhian was actually planning a longer programme for the protest fast but there was a legal problem.

Delhi Police offered 21 days and later the two sides agreed on 15 days but that can be reviewed and the protest can be prolonged depending on what the Government does on the demands put forward by Mr Hazare, he said.

Mr Hazare, who began his fast on August 16, has been demanding acceptance by the Government for the Jan Lokpal Bill that would bring within its ambit the Prime Minister, higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs within Parliament besides other provisions.

Mr Kejriwal said Mr Hazare’s health was fine and was not a matter of concern. He will leave Tihar Jail at about 11 am for Ramlila Maidan. Mr Hazare, who has been in Tihar Jail since August 16, will go in a car to the Ramlila Maidan.

“He should leave around 11 am,” Mr Kejriwal said.

Asked if statements coming out that Mr Hazare’s fast is indefinite and not a fast unto death was a climbdown, Mr Kejriwal said: “There is no climbdown. Anna Hazare never used the word fast unto death. It is an indefinite fast. Anna used the word indefinite because it is more spiritual. Fast unto death seems a little more in the connotation of blackmail.”

He blamed the media for using the word fast unto death.

Replying to a question about the possibility of certain organisations and individuals supporting the movement becoming violent, he said: “You have seen the movement so far remaining non-violent. This shows the spirituality of the entire movement.”

The RTI activist said it is the responsibility of the administration to take precautions so that anti-social elements don’t penetrate the movement.

“If at all anything happens, I assure you that it is not by the people, it will be by some people who try to create disturbance. Police need to keep a watch on that. We have told everyone that if you see someone doing that, please immediately ask the person to stop,” he said.

Talking about the preparations on the ground, Mr Kejriwal said no grand preparations are being planned and things will be set up as the fast goes.

Large number of persons have turned up at the jail to welcome the anti-corruption crusader’s release.

Though release orders for Mr Hazare were issued soon after he reached Tihar, the Gandhian refused to come out unless allowed to hold his fast unconditionally.

Later, his team had reached an agreement with the Government yesterday under which Delhi Police had removed all the restrictions and allowed him to carry out his hunger strike for a fortnight in the spacious Ramlila Maidan here.

Police personnel have been deployed around the jail and even a helicopter has been pressed into service.

Published on August 19, 2011

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