Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nosy US wants India to exercise restraint ahead of Hazare's fast


Washington, Fri Aug 12 2011 : Ahead of the proposed August 16 fast against corruption by social activist Anna Hazare, the United States has hoped that New Delhi would exercise democratic restraint in the way it deals with peaceful protests.

"As you know, we support the right of peaceful, non-violent protest around the world," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters during her daily news conference.

"That said, India is a democracy, and we count on India to exercise appropriate democratic restraint in the way it deals with peaceful protest," Nuland said in response to a question.

Team Anna on Thursday had asserted that they will go ahead with the indefinite fast on August 16 for a strong Lokpal Bill, saying there will be no compromise on their demands but left the door open for further talks with the government.

Hazare threatened to stop drinking water if the government arrests him before or during the fast and tries to force feed him.

The Hazare team also expressed satisfaction at choice of venue – Jai Prakash Narain Park near Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium – offered to them by police for holding the fast.

Activist Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the people to maintain calm during the fast.

"We have got reports that in some place, some troublemakers might enter the protest and try to spread violence. We appeal to the people to be aware of such elements," he said.

To fine-tune the strategy for the protest, the Core Committee of the Hazare team met yesterday morning and appealed to people to organise relay fast on August 16.

Team Anna is demanding withdrawal of the "anti-poor, anti-Dalit, weak" Bill and seeking introduction of a stronger one.
Arvind Kejriwal, a close associate of Hazare, said there was no going back on the demands raised by them.

"We are not ready to compromise with anyone till our demands are met. The deadlock continues. We are open for any dialogue but there is no invitation from the government yet," he said

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