Anna-lila at Ramlila: Venue to resemble high-secure fortress

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Hazare with key Team Anna members
New Delhi, Aug 19: With Delhiites all geared up to witness the mammoth anti-corruption campaign that has managed to mobilise thousands across India, the stage is set for Gandhian Anna Hazare and team to kickstart the fast against corruption. With last minute discussions and negotiations, Team Anna and police officials were able to break some ice and agreed upon a 15 day fast at Ramlila grounds.

Dharmendra Kumar, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) has been quoted as saying, "As per the original application given by Team Anna to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) on August 5, the team stated that they required 15 days to hold the rally. We, therefore, granted them permission for the period."

A new undertaking is believed to have signed by Anna Hazare and team on the conditions set forth during the conduct of the dharna. The latest undertaking that was addressed to Neeraj Kumar of India Against Corruption states, "Discussions were held with Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Swami Agnivesh and others at Tihar Jail DG"s conference room on August 17 at 3 pm.

"Subsequently, a meeting was held with CP, Delhi. These discussions were centered around the conditions of the undertaking about which you had reservations. We agree to modify these conditions and offer you the Ramlila ground as a venue which has a much larger capacity than the Jai Prakash Narayan Park. We also agree to permit the dharna for 15 days with effect from August 18. The other minor conditions regarding parking of vehicles and tentage as well as use of loudspeakers is also modified as desired by you."

The undertaking was signed by Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan with Arvind Kejriwal refusing to do so. Dharmendra Kumar, commented on this, "Despite Kejriwal not having signed the undertaking, permission for the rally was granted since Anna Hazare had himself signed the agreement."

On the security and crowd management front, the police have barred entry through three of the total six gates at the Ramlila Maidan. Of the three gates, entry will be regulated depending on the influx of crowd. A total of 400 police personnel have been deployed by the central district police headed by DCP (Central) Vivek Kishore. The personnel will work in eight-hour shifts.

A police officer commented, "Police will carry out anti-sabotage checks three times a day. The entire area will be secured with hand-held metal detectors and door frame metal detectors. Around four companies of police personnel will be deployed along with an anti-riot force."

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