Hazare, close aides detained by police ahead of protest fast

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Anna Hazare-Kiran Bedi
New Delhi, Aug 16: In an early morning crackdown, Anna Hazare and his close aides were detained by police after the Gandhian vowed to go ahead with his fast for a strong Lokpal and defy prohibitory orders at the venue of his agitation.

High drama was witnessed in Mayur Vihar area in east Delhi when police detained the 73-year-old Hazare at about 7:30 am from an apartment about three hours before he was to sit on his agitation. A large number of supporters opposed the action and shouted slogans supporting him.

Home Secretary R K Singh said Hazare was detained because he said he intended to defy prohibitory orders and sit on fast at J P Park in central Delhi. Delhi Police had denied permission for his fast after he refused to abide by all the 22 conditions set by them for the agitation.

Hazare's close aides Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal were detained outside Rajghat. Lawyer Shanti Bhushan was also picked up.

"We will move the Supreme Court," Prashant Bhushan, lawyer and close associate of Hazare, told PTI.

Describing his detention by police as the beginning of the "second freedom struggle", Hazare asked people to participate in a "jail bharo" agitation.

"My dear countrymen, second freedom struggle has begun and now I have also been arrested. But will this movement be stopped by my arrest. No not at all. Don't let it happen," Hazare said in a pre-recorded message.

Police had made elaborate arrangements and stationed several buses and trucks in Mayur Vihar, Rajghat and other places to ferry Hazare's supporters.

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. 

PTI

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