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Lokpal war: Govt gives in; Team Anna not happy

Last updated on: August 17, 2011 18:43 IST

Lokpal war: Govt gives in; Team Anna not happy

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Bowing before public pressure after Anna Hazare's arrest, the Delhi police on Wednesday withdrew virtually all pre-conditions for the hunger strike by the activist and his team in the national capital.

After the Hazare team indicated that they were ready to accept Ramlila Maidan as the venue for the protest, police reworked the conditions lifting restriction on the number of protesters and allowed them to hold the agitation for seven days. This deadline can be extended, said the police.

The fresh proposals came after marathon discussions between Hazare, his team and the police. Initially, the police had insisted that they could allow only five days' protest, which was turned down by the activists who asked for permission for one month.


Image: Activists burn an effigy representing the United Progressive Alliance government during a rally in support of Hazare
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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The police had earlier denied permission to Hazare to hold his indefinite fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park near Ferozeshah Kotla Ground after the 74-year-old Gandhian refused to give an undertaking that he would restrict his protest to three days and the number of protesters to 5,000.

Sources said the new proposals include lifting the restriction on the number of vehicles that can be parked at the protest venue and allowing a medical examination of protesters by a government doctor as well as a private doctor chosen by Hazare's team.

Earlier, the police had said a team of government doctors would examine Hazare and others.


Image: Policemen stand guard behind a barricade at the site of Hazare's proposed fast
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters
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Sources said the police can extend the number of days of protest beyond seven days. They said there was no restriction on the number of protesters and the police will allow protesters "to the capacity" at Ramlila Maidan.

Asked whether the offer was acceptable, Hazare's aide Kiran Bedi said, "No, Anna is asking for 30 days' permission for the protest which includes the fast period."


Image: A supporter of Hazare shouts anti-government slogans from a police vehicle after being detained during a protest rally
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
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Meanwhile, thousands of supporters of Hazare on Wednesday took out a march from India Gate to Jantar Mantar to express solidarity with the activist in his fight against corruption.

Protesters, some of them dressed in t-shirts and Gandhi caps with the slogan 'I am Anna', gathered at the war memorial at around 4 pm and began marching towards Jantar Mantar.

In April, Hazare's fast at Jantar Mantar had forced the government to expedite the introduction of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

The march choked the roads in and around India Gate and brought traffic in Lutyen's Delhi to a halt.

Image: Anna Hazare
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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