As his fast-unto-death against corruption entered the fourth day Friday and talks with the government stalled on some points, social activist Anna Hazare asked his supporters to court arrest April 13 under a ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’.
The septuagenarian had earlier called for the ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign April 12.
Anna Hazare’s announcement came after Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said that two demands of the activists could not be met. These are notification of an anti-corruption panel and for appointing former chief justice of India J.S. Verma or former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde as chairman of the committee.
Looking determined, Anna Hazare had earlier said: “I have made a decision and appeal to you that April 12 will be Jail Bharo Andolan. How can they refuse the people’s appeal?”
Later the date was changed to April 13.
“These people (politicians) who have turned us down will come tomorrow asking for votes and say ‘give us a chance to serve you’. When the people are giving you the chance to serve, for the country’s good, they turn you down. So people will go to jail to teach them a lesson,” he added amid thunderous applause from the evergrowing crowd of supporters.
The 72-year-old Gandhian has said he will not eat till the government gave civil society a role in drafting a stringent anti-graft Lokpal Bill.
Amid the growing sea of supporters which included doctors, lawyers, teachers, students, homemakers, Friday saw actor Anupam Kher and Pritish Nandy sitting at Jantar Mantar in support of the movement.
“I want to thank all the youngsters, the school children, who have come to support this movement,” Hazare said.
Former top cop Kiran Bedi who was one of the first people to support Anna Hazare’s campaign but could not be seen in the protest site for the past two days, came and sat with him at the dais Friday.
“I was not well and the doctors had advised me to not to speak. That is why I was taking rest at home. But today I am here. All those people who have said that there is a split in the movement are completely wrong,” Bedi said.