Morning Arrest Turns Into Nightmare For Centre As Anna Refuses To Leave Tihar Until Protest Nod

Anna Rejects Options Offered By Police New Delhi: The government on Tuesday was at sixes and sevens over Anna Hazare’s steely determination to carry on with his indefinite fast despite his unexpected arrest and equally sudden release in the face of countrywide protests. Anna scornfully rejected his release, saying he would leave Tihar Jail only if the government unconditionally allowed his protest for a stronger Lokpal bill. In any case, he said, he was fasting in Tihar. The government’s desperate attempt to cut its losses —releasing Anna within 12 hours of his arrest and seven-day judicial remand — failed badly as it was outwitted by the Gandhian and his growing band of supporters, who appeared to be thinking three steps ahead of government managers. Late in the night, agencies and TV channels reported Anna had been given two options by the government — fast for three days or leave Delhi. But Anna was learnt to have rejected both. His aide, Manish Sisodia, who was freed, sat on a dharna outside Tihar. The high-risk gamble to check Anna by arresting him appeared to be an ill-thought move. While the government possibly thought an indefinite fast would lead to a huge problem for it in the days ahead and reckoned action right now would scatter the movement after initial protests, it had not foreseen the extent of support for Anna or the intensity of the anger against the government. Anna’s tough stance has put the government in a bind. It can let Hazare stay in Tihar but only at the cost of growing popular resentment: the very same consideration that led to a rethink on his imprisonment. On the other hand, permission to let Hazare launch his fast at J P Park will show up the initial refusal of the site as arbitrary and unreasonable. ANNA’S DAY 6am: Cops call up Anna at Mayur Vihar, ask if he will carry on with his planned protest. Anna says ‘yes’ 7.40am: Police arrest Anna. Crowd gathers, tries to stop car carrying him 8.45am: Anna brought to Civil Lines. His supporters reach there. Cops take them in buses to Chhatrasal Stadium 11.30am: Panicky cops now move Anna to Rajouri Garden 3.15pm: Anna produced before magistrate. Refuses to give bail bond, remanded in 7-day custody. Moved to Tihar Jail 7.30pm: Police suddenly move for Anna’s release, saying conditions warranting his arrest have changed 9.30pm: Anna refuses to leave Tihar unless he’s given right to protest at J P Park From Times of India-17.08.11
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