Concern mounts on health of fasting Team Anna

New Delhi: Concern today mounted over the health of three Team Anna members, whose fast entered the ninth day, as activists held discussions on the next course of action though the government showed no sign of getting into negotiation to end the stir.

Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai have refused hospitalisation despite their health condition worsening and a warning from police that organisers will be "squarely responsible" if anything happens to the fasting activists.

"All the three have repeatedly said that they are here for sacrifice. They will not get prevailed upon. They are very determined themselves," Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said.

Hazare, whose fast entered the fifth day, held discussions with the three fasting activists and Bedi in the morning.

None of the fasting activists took to the dais till 11:30 AM though a crowd of around 500 gathered at the protest venue at Jantar Mantar here. Hazare came to the stage along with Bollywood actor Anupam Kher a little later.

Security has been stepped up at the site following yesterday`s bomb explosions in Pune. Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the protest venue and bomb disposal squads were pressed to check the site last night and early this morning.

There was no move from the government to initiate a dialogue with the protesters to end the stir. Fearing forcible hospitalisation of fasting activists, scores of Team Anna supporters kept vigil throughout the night at the Jantar Mantar protest venue.

The intervening night of August one and two saw around 300 supporters camping at the site and keeping a watch on every step of police personnel.

At 1 AM, even the routine change of duty of police personnel was initially perceived by protesters as a sign of mobilisation to forcibly take Kejriwal and two others two hospital.

A volunteer immediately alerted others and as supporters started gathering, a senior police official informed them that it was change of duty of personnel and they were there not to take anybody to hospital.

The night also saw groups of protesters leaving for residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to stage protests in a bid to step up pressure on the government to initiate talks.

Kher appealed to activists to end their hunger strike, saying their leadership is necessary for taking the anti- corruption movement forward. "It is our duty to raise voice against corruption. It is necessary that this voice reaches the masses. I appeal to all fasting activists, including Arvind, to call off their fast," he told reporters at Jantar Mantar.