Shimla residents support Anna’s crusade (Lead)

August 16th, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 16 (IANS) A large number of residents Tuesday evening gathered in this Himachal Pradesh capital, condemning the arrest of civil society activist Anna Hazare in New Delhi.

Elsewhere, several activists began an indefinite hunger strike and staged protests to press for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal bill.

“His arrest is an attempt to throttle the voice against corruption,” Sushil Tanwar, a wheelchair-bound bank employee, told IANS.

“This is a gross violation of the right to express as enshrined in the Constitution,” he added.

The peaceful protest was organised by the citizens, mainly comprising state and central government employees, senior citizens and lawyers.

Tanwar said the aim of the procession, which was not associated with any political front, was to condemn police action.

“We are here to express solidarity with Anna ji,” housewife Reeta Sharma said, adding “Why is the prime minister silent on the issue?”.

The procession after passing though the town’s main market culminated in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the Ridges, where the people pledged to wage war against corruption.

Several activists began an indefinite hunger strike in Mandi town to press for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal bill and express solidarity with Anna.

Earlier in the day, a procession was taken out in the town.

Similar solidarity processions were also taken out in Kangra, Dharamsala, Bilaspur, Hamirpur and Chamba towns.

Meanwhile, the state unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Tuesday gave a call for statewide protest Wednesday.

Additional Director General of Police S.R. Mardi told IANS here: “As long as there is a peaceful protest, we will not disturb them. But we will not allow anyone to disturb law and order.”

Gandhian activist Anna Hazare was detained Tuesday morning by the police in Delhi as he was about to set out for his fast in support of the Lokpal bill.

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