Team Anna opposes forcible removal of activists

New Delhi: Team Anna today opposed any forcible removal of fasting activists, including Arvind Kejriwal, as police advised their immediate hospitalisation warning that the organisers will be "squarely responsible" if anything untoward happens to them. As the health of his aides deteriorated on the eight day of their fast, Anna Hazare saw a conspiracy by the government to end the stir by forcibly removing them from the Jantar Mantar protest site. He warned that he will not negotiate with the government if it adopts such a strategy.

Speaker after speaker from Team Anna, who addressed the protesters throughout the day, said that the government has hatched a "conspiracy" and they do not believe in government- run hospitals. In a letter to Team Anna member Neeraj Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) K C Dwivedi said doctors have advised that Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai need immediate medical intervention and be shifted to a hospital.

"You are advised to follow the doctors` recommendation and take steps for immediate hospitalisation of Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia to prevent harm to their lives and well-being failing which you would be squarely responsible for any untoward incident," the letter said. Dr T S Sidhu, Medical Superintendent of government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said the physicians who examined the fasting activists have "strongly advised" that Kejriwal, Sisodia and Rai be "immediately" moved to hospital.

Kejriwal said that it will be protesters` responsibility to get him out of the facility if he is forcibly taken there to which Congress reacted saying it is a "dangerous statement" and Team Anna was "inciting people". Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury also said it had never closed its doors for talks but accused the group of going ahead with the agitation "individually and arbitrarily".

With the government showing no inclination for talks to end their stir, a worried Team Anna held two rounds of discussions this morning on the way ahead. In the meeting, Kejriwal and Rai were requested to end their hunger strike and let other members carry on with the stir but they refused. After the meeting, Hazare told the protesters that he will not call off his fast till a strong Lokpal bill is passed.

"A man may commit suicide when he is in trouble. What is troubling Arvind? He is fighting for the country. And this fight is creating trouble for the government and there could be a conspiracy to take them to hospital. But this won`t work. If the government forcefully removes them, I will not talk to anybody in the government. Till we have the strength, we will carry on with the protest," he said.

Kejriwal said he does not have trust in the government doctors and refused to share medical reports with them from today. "There is a conspiracy to forcibly take me to hospital. I don`t have trust in government doctors," he said. After the letter was sent to Team Anna in the afternoon, members Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh and Shazia Ilmi addressed the protesters and said there was information that fasting activists may be removed from the site.

"Information is that the government is trying to end this agitation. If there is police action, we will fight it in a non-violent way," Singh claimed. Ilmi alleged that they have information that Kejriwal will be taken by force in the night. However, police denied the allegation. Viswas alleged this is a conspiracy of the government and the activists had no belief in government-run hospitals.

"We believe in the doctors who are 24/7 with us in this agitation. The government said they would not talk to us. This government would talk to separatists, with Maoists and Pakistan which sends terrorists to us. But not with us," he said. In the letter from police, it was said that the continued fasting, resistance to accepting medical intervention and announcing from the dais that there would be dire consequences following their forcible removal were not as per the mutually agreed upon terms.

Dwivedi pointed out that Team Anna has given an undertaking on July seven that they will abide by all lawful directions by any police officer at any stage of the agitation. The letter also stated that Dr Vivek Arya and Dr Kanika of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Dr Vipin Mittal and Dr Atul Gupta, attending to the fasting actvists, have examined Hazare and three other activists.

"Today, Dr T S Sidhu, the Medical Superintendent of RML, forwarded the medical reports of Dr Arya for the past two days. This team of doctors has advised that Kejriwal, Rai and Sisodia need immediate medical intervention of a hospital and should, therefore, be shifted to one. Dr T S Sidhu has endorsed this view," the letter said.

Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said that the government and Hazare were on the same page in principle to fight corruption but differ on modality to achieve the objective. "We are on the same page as far as the issue of fighting corruption is concerned…We want to fight the menace through legislation but he wants to do so through agitation," Rawat told reporters.

Several Team Anna supporters and students also held a protest at the BJP headquarters here this afternoon demanding that the party support Hazare`s campaign against corruption. The protesters, who wore Team Anna badges and caps, shouted slogans against the party near the entrance of the BJP office.