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Anna: 53 hours inside Tihar Jail, and counting

Last updated on: August 18, 2011 23:14 IST

Anna: 53 hours inside Tihar Jail, and counting

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Sahim Salim in New Delhi

Social Activist Anna Hazare has been continuing his fast from inside the Tihar Jail in New Delhi. Sahim Salim recaps the last 53 hours.

In the 53 hours he has been in jail since Tuesday, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has refused even a cup of tea. The only thing he has had since he declared his fast is water. 

Since he refused to leave Tihar Jail, Anna did not spend the night in the barracks that was prepared for him. Instead, he slept on the floor on a blanket provided by jail authorities in a conference hall inside the prison complex.

Hazare and four of his aides, including Arvind Kejriwal, were provided with blankets inside a spacious conference hall in the office of Director General (prisons) Neeraj Kumar.

Sources said that on his first day in prison (Tuesday), Hazare had even refused water. Some officials had even asked Anna to hold his fast after getting out of prison, but he refused.

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Image: The Tihar Jail in New Delhi

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Hazare interacted with several inmates

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On Tuesday evening after 4 pm, Anna had been escorted to his barrack in Jail number four, where disgraced former chairman of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi is lodged.

Hazare was lodged with three other aides in this barrack, sources said. Officials said that Anna interacted with several inmates. Many knew about him and on seeing him in person, they talked to him about his cause.

After he announced that he would not be taking dinner because he had started his fast, several hundred inmates inside jail number four also skipped dinner to show solidarity to the self-styled Gandhian.

Later in the night, after Delhi police issued release orders, Hazare was escorted to Kumar's office along with four of his aides. Sources said that Hazare and his aides watched television news in Kumar's office.

He was later shifted to the conference hall. Officials allowed his supporters to take in packed food for two of his aides who are not fasting.

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Image: Hazare inside the Tihar Jail

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Hazare held discussions with co-activists

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After a late-night health-checkup by the prison doctors and government doctors from G B Pant hospital, Hazare closed the door to the conference hall.

Sources said that Hazare was heard talking to his aides late into the night. Hazare woke up early on Wednesday, took a bath and changed into a fresh pair of kurta and dhoti, sources said. He also read all the newspapers available in the DG's office.

He was offered breakfast, which he again refused. He even refused tea offered by prison officials.

All through the day, he met with co-activists Kiran Bedi, Swami Agniwesh, Medha Patkar and Prashant Bhushan and held discussions with them.

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Image: Activist Swami Agnivesh

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Friday will be a long day for the Gandhian

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An official at Tihar Jail said, "All through the day, he met with different activists and police officials. In the afternoon, he took a short nap. The only thing he demanded was water and newspapers.

"He was always smiling and interacted pleasantly with guards at the DIG's office. Several of us asked him if it wasn't better to start his fast once outside the jail, but he refused saying that he had announced much earlier that he would begin his fast on August 16," he added.

Hazare's health was again checked by a team of doctors approved by heart specialist Dr Naresh Trehan, who has been looking after Anna's health since August 16.

Anna and his aides closed the door to the conference hall sometime after 10 pm.

On Thursday morning, he requested for a fresh pair of clothes from his supporters, which was given to him. Sometime in the afternoon, prison doctors checked on Hazare's health again.

At the time of filing this report, Anna was still at the conference hall talking to his aides. Friday will be a long day for the Gandhian.


Image: Supporters of Anna Hazare sign a banner outside Tihar jail
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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