Hyderabad: The arrest and judicial custody of the renowned social reformer and crusader against corruption Anna Hazare evoked widespread protests all over the State for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. Leaders and workers of Opposition parties, students, activists, NGOs and people from different walks of life took to the road to express solidarity with Mr Hazare, who has refused to leave the Tihar jail till his demands are met.
In the State capital, the former chief minister and Telugu Desam Party president, Mr N Chandrababu Naidu, staged a dharna at Mahatma Gandhi statue on MG Road in James Street, Secunderabad in support of the anti-corruption crusader. However, the police took him into custody and shifted him to the Mahankali Police Station where he was released later on personal security.
Addressing the gathering at the Gandhi statue, Mr Naidu charged the Congress-led UPA government with scornfully trampling upon the democratic rights of the people of the country. He called upon the students and youth to plunge into the agitation against corruption and help cleanse the nation. The former chief minister also declared that he was even prepared to go to jail for a strong and effective Lokpal Bill. “Why the government was afraid of including the Prime Minister and the judiciary under the purview of Lokpal Bill? Lodging Mr Anna Hazare in the cell where former tainted Union minister Ashok Kalmadi was kept is a great insult to the people of the world’s largest democracy”, he added.
Making it clear that there was no question of calling off his agitation till the Union government incorporated Prime Minister in Jan Lokpal Bill and introduced in Parliament, the TDP supremo pointed out that several nations were dealing the corrupt with iron hand. He also pointed out that the former chief minister of Karnataka, Mr B S Yeddyurappa, had to step down from office and go home following strictures passed by the Lok Ayukta of that State recently.
Meanwhile, relay fasts, dharnas, rasta rooks, human chains and rallies were organized across the state demanding that the Centre allow Mr Hazare to fast without any conditions. Carrying national flags and holding placards, the protesters marched on the streets, raising anti-government slogans. Activists of the Hyderabad chapter of India Against Corruption, which expressed solidarity with Mr Anna Hazare, continued their fast for the second day at Indira Park.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) staged protest demonstrations in several places. Advocates in the Nampally criminal court boycotted work and staged a protest. Lawyers also struck work in Karimnagar and Mahabubnagar districts.
In Nellore, TDP took out a motorcycle rally. At Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati, a large number of students staged a dharna. “The government was treating Anna Hazare like a terrorist,” said one of the students sitting at the university entrance with a huge national flag in his hands. Students and citizens from different walks of life took out a rally in Anantapur district.
Students also formed a human chain in Warangal district where the Communist Party of India took out rallies. The protesters set afire an effigy of the government. At few places, the protesters resorted to road and rail blockade. In Kurnool district, they stopped Mumbai-Chennai Express for an hour.