NEW DELHI: Civil society members led by Anna Hazare have decided to shift the venue of their day-long protest on Wednesday from Jantar Mantar to Rajghat to avoid “confrontation” with police, activist Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.
“We are shifting to Rajghat. We have spoken to the commissioner of police and will fast in the vicinity of Rajghat tomorrow from 10am till about 6pm We will fast and pray the whole day,” Kejriwal told reporters.
“There will also be a debate on the Lokpal bill at 5pm,” he added. Both Kejriwal and Hazare are part of the anti-graft Lokpal bill panel.
While Baba Ramdev had held his protest at Ramlila ground, Hazare and other activists had announced a fast at the Jantar Mantar soon after the yoga guru’s eviction from Delhi.
Police on Sunday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in areas that include the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila ground.
Earlier, Kejriwal said police had denied permission to the Gandhian to fast against corruption at Jantar Mantar,
Calling the police action “arbitrary”, Arvind Kejriwal told reporters that Hazare and his supporters would hold a peaceful protest in the heart of the capital nevertheless.
“Anna Hazare has given a call for prayers and fasting. How can prayers and fasting pose law and order problems?” he asked, adding that police had cited law and order as the reason for denying permission for the Wednesday hunger strike near the Jantar Mantar monument.
Kejriwal said that Team Hazare, who he described as civil society representatives, would assemble on Wednesday against the police decision and court arrest if necessary.
“Anna Hazare is 73 years old. He is a man of peace,” he said, calling upon people to lend their support to Wedneday’s protest. “The government ought to explain what threat does Anna Hazare pose.”
Kejriwal said the government was behaving “as if they have the right to be corrupt and if anyone protests, they would either be crushed” or made to face legal orders banning the assembly of five or more people.
Delhi Police imposed the orders on Sunday in the New Delhi district — the heart of the capital — as they cleared the Ramlila ground of yoga guru Ramdev, who too was fasting against corruption, and his supporters.