Anna Hazare, Kejriwal, Bedi detained (Lead)

August 16th, 2011 - 10:47 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Amid high drama, Gandhian activist Anna Hazare was detained Tuesday morning by the Delhi Police as he was about to set out for his fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill.

Around 250 of his supporters, including activist Arvind Kejriwal and former top cop Kiran Bedi, were also detained.

Hazare and Kejriwal left their flat in Supreme Enclave in east Delhi for their fast at Jaiprakash Narayan Park. As they got out of the lift in the apartment complex, around 20 police officers in plain clothes encircled them and whisked them away in a police van to an undisclosed location.

Hazare’s supporters, who had gathered in hundreds in the apartment complex, shouted anti-government slogans and praised the social activist.

The police formed a human chain on the road to prevent any untoward incident.

Just before his arrest, Hazare told a news channel: “Don’t let my arrest stop this movement. This is the nation’s second struggle for freedom. The entire world has come to know how deep rooted corruption is.”

He added: “I appeal to you that let there be no violence in this movement. I also appeal to you, young and old alike, to give eight days of your life to the nation - if necessary for a jail bharo andolan.”

Prashant Bhushan, one of Hazare’s team members, said: “Anna’s arrest is illegal, unconstitutional…this government has no faith in democratic values. It has become dictatorial. This situation is like the emergency period.”

Ramon Magsaysay award winner Bedi, who was detained from Rajghat, said: “When Anna asked on what charges was he arrested, the police said that they have just been given orders.”

“The Delhi Police is capable of handling such peaceful protests…these (arrests) are just orders from above. It’s during the emergency that such things used to happen, arrests just because there were orders,” she added.

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