'It is a very sad day for Indian democracy'
Activists and parties ranging from the Left to the Right on Tuesday came down heavily on the government, condemning detention of Anna Hazare and the refusal to give him permission to hold his fast demanding a strong Lokpal, saying it is an attack on democratic rights of citizens.
Slamming the government for the police action against the Gandhian and his team, political parties accused the government of stifling the legitimate rights of the people and described it as a "sad day for Indian democracy".
"I think it is a very sad day for Indian democracy. You cannot take away the right to protest and the right to dissent....this we have never seen earlier. This is completely unprecedented," leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.
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Also See: Anna Hazare fasts in police detention
Image: Anna Hazare
'Government is trying to find scapegoats'
Senior BJP leader L K Advani said he was not surprised at the detention of Hazare and charged the government with looking for scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests instead of fighting corruption.
"I am not surprised at this development. This is the direction in which this government is moving. Instead of dealing with the problem of corruption and owning responsibility it is trying to find scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests," Advani said.
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'An attack on the democratic rights of the citizens'
Condemning the police action against Hazare and his team, senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat termed it as an "attack" on democratic rights of the people.
"We condemn the arrest of Hazare and his team and the ban on their hunger strike. We consider it as an attack on the democratic rights of the citizens," she said.
Questioning the government's intention to fight corruption, Karat wondered why the police action came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resolved to fight the menace.
"Yesterday, the Prime Minister mentioned his commitment against corruption 16 times in his Independence Day speech and next day he arrests people who want to peacefully protest against corruption.
"May be Congress leadership cannot tolerate anti-corruption movement because its own government is steeped in corruption, scams and scandals," she said.
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Image: Brinda Karat
'This is not the right way to detain a person'
Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde also lambasted the government, saying it is not at all fair in a democracy to deny anyone the freedom to express his views by way of protest.
"I don't think its fair at all in a democracy, merely because somebody wants to express his views by way of some protests," he said questioning the detention of Hazare "in a mid-night manner without serving a detention order, without saying where they are taking him."
"This is not the right way to do...Under article 22 (of Constitution), there is a procedure which has to be followed to detain a person," Hedge said.
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Image: Santosh Hegde
'Anna is not alone. We are also there'
Senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the Gandhian should have faith on Parliament.
"We want to tell Anna Hazare not to sit on fast. Parliament is there, Parliamentary Committee is discussing the Bill. Not only Hazare but we are also against corruption. We also want barring the President, everyone should be under Lokpal.
"Anna is not alone. We are also there. It is important to have faith in Parliament. If he takes this route deciding not to have faith on Parliament, it would not be good," he said.
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Image: Gurudas Dasgupta
'Every person has to abide by the law'
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, who is not a member of the CCPA, justified the police action saying if any untoward incident would have happened at a gathering of a large number of people, then all the blame would have gone on the security apparatus.
Soni said any untoward incident cannot be ruled out if some unscrupulous persons who have no social standing had gathered at the protest venue.She made it clear neither the government nor the Congress party prefers any personal attack on Hazare but insisted that every person, how so great he may be, has to abide by the law.
Image: Ambika Soni
'It is a murder of democracy'
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described the detention of activist Anna Hazare as "murder of democracy".
"It is a murder of democracy... It is also a rehearsal of emergency which people will never tolerate. It seems that the people sitting in Delhi don't have the realisation of democratic values... It is sheer desperation of those sitting at the Centre", he said, adding, the act reflected that "the Central government is afraid of the mass support the movement has".
"It can never be tolerated in democracy", he said and demanded that Hazare be unconditionally released and should have full freedom to hold an agitation in "a peaceful and non-violent way".
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Image: Nitish Kumar
'Delhi Police has become a puppet in the hands of Centre'
"The decision to detain Hazare or to deny permission for his protest were taken by Cabinet Ministers. It is not the Delhi Police which is taking these decisions. There is no freedom for Delhi Police. It has become a puppet, an ornament in the hands of Central government," lawyer Prashant Bhushan said.
Taking exception to the detention of Hazare from a flat, he said the detention of Hazare was a "kind of detention under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA)".
Image: Prashant Bhushan
'The Prime Minister must explain'
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh make a statement in Lok Sabha on the issue of Anna Hazare's detention.
"A statement from the Home Minister on the issue (Hazare) is not acceptable to us. We want Prime Minister's statement in the House. Whatever has happened, the Prime Minister must explain," Swaraj, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, told reporters outside Parliament.
She said, "If the Prime Minister gives a statement then there will be a discussion on it. If the Prime Minister does not give a statement, then we will decide our future course of action."
"The government is showing imbalance in Anna Hazare episode. First four senior ministers negotiated with Hazare and now they are saying he is corrupt. The government is hell-bent on crushing civil rights of the citizens."
Image: Sushma Swaraj
'Anna is not fighting against corruption but doing politics'
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh accused Anna of indulging in politics instead of fighting corruption and attacked him for burning copies of the government bill on Lokpal a few days back.
Justifying the detention of Hazare, the AICC General Secretary said there are provisions of taking preventive steps in law if the administration feels that law and order can go out of control in a certain situation.
"Who gave him (Hazare) the right to burn copies of the bill which has been tabled in Parliament? Was this constitutional? The thing is that he is not fighting against corruption but doing politics," Singh said.
Image: Digvijay Singh