Anna to leave Tihar, hold fast at Ramlila ground (Lead)

August 18th, 2011 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Anna Hazare is set to leave Tihar Jail and hold his fast at the Ramlila ground in central Delhi, his aide Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday, two days after the civil society leader was jailed and subsequently released.

“Anna’s health is fine. The jail doctors are looking after him and Dr Naresh Trehan’s team is monitoring him 24 hours,” Kejriwal told reporters outside Tihar Jail.

He added that Delhi Police had granted Team Anna permission to hold the fast at Ramlila ground for 15 days.

“We have been given the Ramlila ground for 15 days, and have also been assured by the Delhi Police that if we need the ground for more days, we can stay there,” Kejriwal said.

“The conditions imposed on us earlier have also been withdrawn,” he added.

Hazare, 74, had planned to begin his fast for a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal Bill from the J.P. Park in the ITO area Tuesday. However, Delhi Police imposed certain conditions before allowing the protest. Hazare refused to sign the undertaking, following which the police detained him and his other team members Tuesday.

He was arrested and subsequently released but refused to leave the jail until allowed to carry on the protest without any conditions.

Kejriwal said they were waiting for the Ramlila ground to be cleaned up before the stage and tents could be set up for the fast.

“The Municipal Commissioner of Delhi K.S. Mehra spoke to me and said that the deputy commissioner has taken charge of clearing the muck at the Ramlila ground. Only after the ground is prepared, will Anna leave Tihar,” he said.

He did not specify a time for the protest to begin, saying it could begin “today or tomorrow”. Even so, supporters in massive numbers have started pouring in at the Ramlila ground since early Thursday.

“Our demand is that a proper draft of the Lokpal bill which will effectively fight corruption should be presented in the parliament. And we will continue our fight for that…but it will all be peaceful,” Kejriwal said.

A Tihar Jail spokesperson told IANS that Hazare was likely to be out of the jail in the afternoon.

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