Won't accept Delhi police's conditions: Hazare
Activist Anna Hazare and the government seem to be headed for a confrontation with the Gandhian on Saturday deciding to go ahead with his indefinite fast from August 16 for a "strong" Lokpal Bill.
Hazare accused the government of "deceit" as it had tried to impose "conditions" on his agitation. He sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to "show courage" and protect his fundamental rights.
Addressing a press conference after the Delhi police sent a letter carrying 22 conditions, he made it clear that he was ready for any eventuality in case the government decided to crack down on the protest. He would not mind going to jail or being beaten up by the police, Hazare said.
'The government is scared'
"The fast will take place in Jai Prakash Narain Park. We will continue with the protest beyond three days...the government is scared that its corruption will be exposed," said Hazare.
The activist's fast in April, at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, has forced the government to introduce a Lokpal Bill with which he is not satisfied.
The government has already introduced the Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha, which has been referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament and is expected to be taken up in the Winter Session.
The legislation excludes the prime minister, the higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs inside Parliament. Hazare and his team wants the bill to cover these as well as the entire bureaucracy.
Lawyer Shanti Bhushan claimed that they had agreed with almost all the conditions laid by the Delhi police for the protest, but refused to give an undertaking that the protest will end by the third day and the number of protesters will not go beyond 5,000, terming it "unconstitutional".
'The government has betrayed us'
Asserting that the protest would continue till the time it is "necessary", Bhushan warned the government against disrupting the protest and reminded about the repercussions of the Emergency on the Congress party in the subsequent election.
Rubbishing the government's condition that the number of protesters be limited to 5,000, the Hazare team pointed out that when political parties hold protests, lakhs of people are brought in buses and trucks and the government has no problems with that.
"In our protest, people are coming on their own using their own money. The government is acting against them. People will come and teach the government a lesson," Hazare said while noting that he was not sure how many people will join his protest.
To a question, he said he had faith in Parliament and that was why he appeared before the Standing Committee examining the Lokpal Bill.
"The government, however, has betrayed us. This is not the draft we wanted. Get the proper bill. After that whatever Parliament decides, we will obey," he said.