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Friday, 19 August 2011

Willing to discuss things with Government: Team Anna

New Delhi: Members of the Anna Hazare's team on Friday said they are willing to discuss with the Government the Lokpal issue with open mind in case the Government comes up with a better suggestion to fight corruption.

"We will say what we consider is essential for effectively fighting corruption. Now we are willing to have discussion with the Government with open mind if they are willing to suggest a better way of fighting corruption. But we are not willing to compromise on formula, which says leave 20 per cent of corrupt people without any institution, which investigates them for corruption. That kind of compromise is not acceptable to us," said Hazare's close aide Arvind Kejriwal.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the Ramlila Maidan, senior lawyer and social activist Prashant Bhushan said, "At least the Government has to introduce Jan Lokpal course Parliament has to decide. But at least Parliament should know what the people of the country want."
Anna Hazare, who has become a symbol of popular outrage over endemic
 corruption in India was due to leave Tihar jail on Friday to carry on his fast
 after a beleaguered government caved in to huge protests across the country.

After arriving at the Ramlila Maidan from Tihar Jail, Anna Hazare on Friday warned the Government that he won't leave the fast venue unless the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament. Indicating that his protest fast for a strong anti-corruption legislation will not come to an end any time soon, Hazare exhorted his supporters to carry on the fight with renewed vigour.

"The countrymen should not lose this spirit. This is our fight against corruption. I have lost 3 kg but I am getting energy from my supporters across the country. I have full faith in my country. This government has looted the country. We will now only sit in peace when the corruption gets removed from the country. Till Jan Lokpal Bill is passed, we will not leave Ramlila Maidan," announced Hazare as thousands of his supporters waved the Indian flag and shouted slogans in his favour.

"You should not allow this torch of struggle to be put out whether Anna is alive or not," he told the cheering crowd.

Hazare reached the Ramlila Maidan almost three hours after he walked out of the Tihar Jail at 11:40 AM on Friday morning and was greeted by a huge crowd. The crowd swelled as his convoy passed though some of the important landmarks on New Delhi including Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi at Rajghat where the 74-year-old Hazare paid homage to the Father of the Nation and then belying his age almost sprinted out with police personnel and his supporters following him.
The procession of supporters was almost 2 km long by the time it reached the Ramlila Maidan from the Tihar Jail.

However, several Hazare supporters who had gathered at the India Gate in anticipation of his visit were left disappointed and drenched in rain as the anti-corruption crusader failed to turn up.
Hazare was checked by a team of doctors led by renowned cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan at the Ramlila Maidan. He had also undergone a medical examination on Friday morning with the doctors declaring that he had lost 3 kgs in three days and weighed 68 kg.
Hazare weighed 71 kg when he was arrested and sent to the Tihar Jail. He has been fasting since Tuesday.

Kejriwal said that no politician would be allowed to share the stage with him. He also added that the protest fast could be extended from the scheduled 15 days

"The Government's stance has always been wrong. We still hope they will take the right step. No politician would be seen on the stage. All political parties are welcome to sit on a fast here but no politician would be allowed to sit on the stage. I am Anna's soldier. If people are on the streets for a better law and the Government considers it as an attack on the democracy, then the Government has to learn what democracy is. The (Delhi) Police Commissioner has promised that if there is four day notice, he will extend it (permission to use the venue) by one week," said Kejriwal.

Although the Central Government had buckled under public pressure and Delhi Police had released Hazare on Tuesday evening, but he refused to come out of the jail till his demand for an unconditional fast was accepted.
The negotiations between Team Anna and Delhi Police continued for several hours before the deadlock was broken with the authorities agreeing to almost all the demands put forward by Hazare. He was allowed to hold his protest fast for 15 days, which could be extended, at the Ramlila Maidan. Police had initially given permission to Hazare to hold the fast for three days from August 16 in JP Park with a crowd restriction of 5,000.

Team Hazare has been campaigning for adoption of its Jan Lokpal that will cover Prime Minister, higher judiciary and conduct of MPs inside Parliament besides other provisions.


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