New Delhi: Refusing to come out of Tihar Jail, Anna Hazare on Wednesday continued his fast for the second consecutive day as the government was caught in a cleft as to how to deal with the embarrassing stand-off.
The 73-year-old Gandhian, who was ordered to be released on Tuesday after being remanded in 7-day judicial custody, spent the night in the administrative block of the jail along with his associate Arvind Kejriwal.
Hundreds of people continued their vigil outside the jail premises as Hazare made it clear that he would come out of the prison only if he is given permission to stage the indefinite fast at the Jai Prakash Narain Park, the original planned venue for the hunger strike.
Hazare, who was picked up by Delhi Police from a flat in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi on Tuesday morning, got up at around 5:00am, and was involved in a discussion with Kejriwal and his other associates, sources said.
Hazare was offered released on Tuesday night after the Delhi Police issued warrants of release for him and seven of his associates, almost 13 hours after they were detained.
Hazare’s aide Manish Sisodia, who came out of the jail last night, said though the Gandhian was given bail he did not agree to the terms and conditions imposed by authorities.
“He does not want them (police) to arrest him the moment he begins his fast at a location of his choice,” he told reporters outside the jail this morning.
“We don’t have any information on when he will come out,” he said.
The activist said other members of Team Anna -- Prashant Bhushan, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh -- will assemble outside Tihar Jail at 11:00am and hold a protest.
“What we wanted to do in JP Park, we have decided to do here only. Tihar Jail main gate will be the main center for our movement,” he said.
To a specific question, Sisodia said Anna has told the jail authorities that he will not leave the premises until the police tell him the status of his application for launching a hunger strike at the JP Park.
“He told them very clearly that he wants to sit and fast there with his followers. So this is the status and we are fasting here outside Tihar jail,” he said.
On reports that yoga guru Ramdev will also join the protest, he said, “I have no official confirmation but whoever wants to join they are welcome.”
When Hazare’s supporters shouted slogans against HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Sisodia said the Gandhian has given “strict instructions” not to raise any slogans against any person or party.
“We have not assembled here to remove any person or party. Anyone who does that is not a supporter of Hazare,” he told the protesters.
“What is wrong if the common man demands a law with provisions against bribery. Bribing must be made an offence under the Lokpal Bill,” he said.
Meanwhile, additional security personnel were deployed outside the Tihar Jail, where hundreds of Hazare’s supporters are camping.
Around 30 police personnel in riot gear were deployed early this morning at the main gate outside the office of Director-General of Tihar prisons.