Anna calls for ''Jail Bharo''

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New Delhi, Aug 15: Anna Hazare is all set for a full blown confrontation with the government on the Lokpal bill, giving a call to his supporters to fill up jails all over the country if he is arrested tomorrow after he was denied permission to hold indefinite fast here.

Addressing a press conference after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh slammed him for resorting to fast as a protest when Parliament was seized of the Lokpal bill, the Gandhian said he will go to J P park tomorrow, the venue of his fast even though Delhi police has imposed prohibitory orders.

"I come to understand that I will be refused permission. We will go there. If I am arrested, I will continue my hunger strike in the jail. If I am released, I will go back to the venue and this circle will continue," he said at a 30-minute press conference that came to an end to coincide with his "lights-off" call throughout the country from 8 pm.

He said once he is arrested, people should fill up the jails in every village across the country. "Going to jail for the country is no crime...It is a decoration," he said.

He accused the Prime Minister of "speaking" the language of his ministerial colleague Kapil Sibal saying that the Lokpal bill was before Parliament which will take the call.

Before his press conference, the 73-year old activist made an unscheduled visit to Rajghat, where he sat in meditation. Soon after the news of his being at the Gandhi Samadhi, hundreds of supporters gathered around him.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police refused permission to Gandhian and his supporters saying that team Hazare have refused to give an undertaking on restricting the number of days of protest and protesters besides four other conditions.

Sudhir Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range), said anybody assembling at the Park tomorrow would face legal action.

"We have denied the permission. Nobody is supposed to come to the park. If somebody comes there, it is unlawful. They will be handled according to law. If they do that, it is violation of law," Yadav said as police prepared to lock down the grounds.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh reviewed the situation with Delhi Police Commissioner B K Gupta and other top officials at the police headquarters.

Hazare''s protest tomorrow is in pursuit of his campaign for a strong Lokpal that will have under its ambit Prime Minister, higher judiciary, conduct of MPs in Parliament and other provisions. The bill introduced in Parliament excludes these institutions.

In his speech at the Red Fort this morning, the Prime Minister decried Hazare going on fast and said Parliament alone will decide on Lokpal and those having grievances should approach Parliamentary Committees for airing their views.

At his press conference, Hazare said corruption has crossed all limits and is all pervasive in various sectors, including education and jobs.

He said even after Jan Lokpal is passed, there is no guarantee that corruption will be eliminated 100 per cent but he was confident that it would end at least up to 60-65 per cent. "If it does not happen, I am ready to serve water at Kapil Sibal''s house," he said.

PTI

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