Team Anna hardens stand, cops want them hospitalised
The condition of Team Anna members, who are on a fast over the last eight days, deteriorated Wednesday, even as they hardened their stand on not negotiating with the government over the Jan Lokpal bill, despite an epistle from the Delhi Police that they be hospitalised over their worsening health.
The health of Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, who sat on their hunger strike July 25, gave cause for concern to doctors attending on them and they advised that the fasting activists be taken to hospital forthwith.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh indicated that the government could force-feed Team Anna members if they continued their indefinite fast.
Taking a cue from the advice from the doctors, Additional Commissioner of Police K.C. Dwivedi wrote to India Against Corruption (IAC) organiser Neeraj Kumar asking for the three activists to be hospitalised immediately.
"The team of doctors has advised that Arvind Kejriwal, Gopal Rai and Manish Sisodia need immediate interventions of a hospital and should, therefore, be shifted to one," wrote Dwivedi.
But Kejriwal was indifferent to the police instruction and said he was not doing anything against law and he would not go to hospital.
"I am weak. But the government is saying that they will put me in a hospital, as I am trying to commit suicide. But if they do that you people should take me out of hospital," Kejriwal told his supporters.
"I am not doing anything against the law. I am on a democratic protest," he said.
Anna Hazare too put his weight behind Kejriwal and other fasting members of the anti-graft movement, saying they were fighting for the country which was not going down well with the government and it may conspire to forcibly take him to hospital.
"If the government forcibly removes them, I will not talk to anybody in the government. Till we have the strength, we will carry on with the protest," said Hazare.
Police said in the letter that their defiance would only cause an adverse law and order situation.
"Their continued fasting, resistance to accepting medical intervention, of announcing from the dais that there would be dire consequences following their forcible removal by the government, is not as per the terms and conditions that were mutually agreed upon and may lead to adverse law and order situation," it said.
Talking to a TV news channel, a frail-looking Kejriwal said: "The government will not decide how long should the fast continue. They cannot remove us forcibly."
While Hazare's fast against corruption entered the fourth day, other Team Anna members have been off food for over a week now demanding Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed by parliament.
Doctors said though the fasting activists were weak, their condition was stable.
Along with the four Team Anna members, around 450 people were also on fast, said a member of IAC.
Kejriwal, a diabetic, told supporters at Jantar Mantar, the protest venue in central Delhi, that the health updates from the state-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital would be stopped, as he had no faith in the hospital.
"All their health parameters are normal. They are stable," said Sanjeeb Chibber, who described himself as a senior cancer surgeon and part of the protest against corruption.
He said Kejriwal and the others were only drinking water during the fast.
According to Chibber, fasting with water "is safe till three weeks and people with stamina can last till six months". He revealed that the blood pressure and sugar levels of the four people were fine.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh, meanwhile, indicated that the government could force-feed Team Anna members.
"The government cannot allow people to die. Therefore, the government has to look into it," Singh told NDTV news channel here.
Pushing for dialogue, he said talks could not be held at "gun point" and called upon Hazare and his associates to give up their fast.