Gandhian, along with close associates, remanded to judicial custody for seven days. Parliament adjourned after uproar by opposition parties describing police action as undemocratic
New Delhi: True to his word, Anna Hazare today revived his hunger protest for a strong Lokpal, and even the Delhi police detaining him in the early hours of Tuesday did not deter the 73-year-old Gandhian in his non-violent struggle against corruption.
Mr Hazare was picked up by police at about 7.30am from a residence in east Delhi for "intending to defy prohibitory orders". Late afternoon, he was produced before a special executive magistrate. But he refused to sign a personal bond to be allowed to get out on bail and was remanded in judicial custody for seven days.
Within hours of his detention, a spokesperson for Team Anna said that the Gandhian had begun his hunger protest while in police custody and that he was not accepting even water to drink.
The arrest of Mr Hazare and some of his close associates, set off a groundswell of protests across the country and this appeared to be spreading quickly. The arrest was condemned by political parties, the chief ministers of some non-Congress ruled states, non-government organisations and even parliament did not transact any business after an uproar on the issue forced an adjournment for the day.
As protests built up in several cities and towns over the arrest, Prashant Bhushan, one of Mr Hazare's key associates, announced a march from India Gate to Parliament House on Wednesday to protest against the police action, which he described was taken at the behest of some cabinet ministers. "There is no freedom for Delhi police. It has become a puppet, an ornament in the hands of the central government," Mr Bhushan said. "This is a kind of detention under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA)".
Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta said that the police was not keen that Mr Hazare be sent to judicial custody. He said police was prepared to release him on a personal bond if he would have given an undertaking that he would not defy Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code which prohibits the gathering of five or more people and ask his supporters not to do so also.
Mr Hazare is likely to be taken to Tihar jail where he will spend the time in judicial custody. Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Manoj Sisodia, three other leading activists of team Anna, have also been sent to judicial custody on similar grounds.
"This is a return of emergency without official proclamation. What crime did Anna commit? Unless we unite, we will be imposed by a defective Lokpal which protects corruption. We now need solutions not statements of intentions," Kiran Bedi, one of the key associates of Mr Hazare, told the Press Trust of India.
In a message released after his detention, Mr Hazare said this was the beginning of the "second freedom struggle" and he called on people to participate in a "jail bharo" agitation. "My dear countrymen, a second freedom struggle has begun and now I have also been arrested. But will this movement be stopped by my arrest. No, not at all. Don't let it happen," Mr Hazare said.
Opposition parties, peeved over the attitude of the Congress in parliament, said they would meet later today to decide on the course of action. Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said he had proposed a boycott of parliament for three days.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat described the arrest as "a strong attack on democratic rights. ... I believe it also reflects the Congress party's refusal to tolerate any movement against corruption. One can ask, why is the Congress leadership taking this decision? Clearly because its own government is steeped in corruption," she said.
Senior Bhartiya Janata Party leader LK Advani said he was not surprised at the detention of Mr Hazare and he charged the government with looking for scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests instead of fighting corruption. "I am not surprised at this development. This is the direction in which this government is moving. Instead of dealing with the problem of corruption and owning responsibility it is trying to find scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests," Mr Advani told the Press Trust of India.
Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, "I think it is a very sad day for Indian democracy. You cannot take away the right to protest and the right to dissent... this we have never seen earlier. This is completely unprecedented."
In Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar described the detention of Mr Hazare and his associates as a "rehearsal of emergency" which people will never tolerate. "It is a murder of democracy... It is also a rehearsal of emergency which people will never tolerate," Mr Kumar told journalists. "It seems that the people sitting in Delhi don't have the realisation of democratic values... It is sheer desperation of those sitting at the Centre." He said the act reflected that "the central government is afraid of the mass support the movement has."
Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal also condemned the arrests saying that "the Congress has panicked over the movement of Anna Hazare as it is Congress leaders who have stashed money abroad. We are with the movement."
In Chandigarh, Ludhiana and some other places, people from all walks of life, including advocates and academicians, took to the streets-despite inclement weather-to join the protest for a strong Lokpal. Among them were activists of the NGOs 'India Against Corruption' and Awaaz who launched a relay hunger strike. Traffic was blocked at several intersections.
In Hyderabad, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu said, "Prime minister Manmohan Singh should apologise to the nation for having sent Hazare and other social activists, who are fighting against corruption, to Tihar jail. The arrest of Hazare and his team is the height of despotic rule of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre that is suppressing all civil rights."
In Ranchi, members of the '74 Chetna Manch, a forum of participants of the Jayaprakash Narayan movement, staged a sit-in at Shahid Chowk to demand an 'effective' anti-corruption bill. "Ours is a peaceful show of solidarity to Anna Hazare's movement against corruption. If the Anna team believes that effective Lokpal Bill can curb corruption what is the problem for the Centre to accept it," asked convenor Pramod Mishra.
In Maharashtra, crowds gathered in many cities and towns in response to Mr Hazare's call to court arrest. Thousands poured into south Mumbai's Azad Maidan since early in the morning, in preparation for the 'Jail Bharo' programme.
"Around 50 to 70 people will court arrest every half an hour. We will start from 2pm with women supporters, followed by youth and then the others," said Mayank Gandhi, in-charge of the Mumbai unit of India Against Corruption. Social activist Medha Patkar is co-ordinating the protests in Mumbai.
In Nagpur, a large number of people, including activists Umesh Choube and noted economist Srinivas Khandewale courted arrest in support of the demand for an effective Lokpal. Many people wearing 'Gandhi' caps with slogans 'I am Anna' gathered at the Reserve Bank of India Square, on the busy Nagpur-Jabalpur national highway that runs through the Civil Lines area.
In Pune, protestors gathered at Balgandharva Square from the morning to condemn the police action and his detention in Delhi this morning. They carried placards and shouted slogans in support of a strong Lokpal legislation.
In Nashik, a rally was taken out on the main street in protest against the arrest of Mr Hazare and this culminated in a public meeting in front of the district collectorate. Police resorted to a mild cane-charge to clear the road for traffic. The protestors included several professionals and a large number of women and youth. Protests were also reported from Mr Hazare's native Ahmednagar.
The Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai will host an exhibition of films of the actor in October. Noted collector plans to put his collection of invaluable Shammi Kapoor items on display also
The country is mourning the death of Shammi Kapoor, one of its most beloved and prolific stars who was a youth icon in the 1960s. The brother of legendary Raj Kapoor passed away on Sunday of chronic renal failure at the age of 79.
For Kapoor's fans and movie buffs who might want to re-experience the 'yahoo' phenomenon, there's an exhibition of his films planned at the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai from 8th to 22nd October.
Noted collector and high court advocate Rajan Jayakar also plans to put up his collection of Shammi Kapoor memorabilia on display during this fortnight of films. "He was my favourite hero, the star of our times," said Mr Jayakar. "I had wanted to hold the exhibition for his 80th birthday, which falls on 21st October. But unfortunately, he is no more. This is my tribute to him."
Mr Jayakar started his collection some five years back. He graduated to it when the vendors at Chor Bazaar, one of India's largest flea markets located in south Mumbai, suggested that he start a collection related to movies, since there was a dearth of things related to old Bombay, one of his favourite areas. "They said that they had a lot of materials on films. I opted for Shammi Kapoor, who was my childhood hero," Mr Jayakar said.
He got all the print material he could find on Shammi Kapoor, from film posters, photographs, lobby cards and passes to songbooks. He also has cassettes, records and CDs, and all the DVDs of Shammi Kapoor's films. Apart from hits like Teesri Manzil, China Town, Junglee and Tumsa Nahi Dekha, Mr Jayakar has also stocked up posters and other items related to the actor's earlier flops and lesser known works like Sipahsalar, Hum Sab Chor Hain and Naqab.
In fact, he has paid more attention to 18 films in which Kapoor starred that did not do well, before Tumsa Nahin Dekha in 1957 became a hit and launched him as a star. "Actually, I think it was the moustache that made him look too much like Raj Kapoor," Mr Jayakar said. "He shaved it off, got that Elvis Presley look, and he was a hit."
Mr Jayakar wanted to collect material related to those flops because those were rare, and more valuable from a collector's point of view. "But all the posters, everything was gone, or destroyed. My job was to find out those lobby cards, song books, etc," he said. It was a challenge. No one had a collection specifically on Shammi Kapoor, so Mr Jayakar had to talk to people who collected things related to films. After five years of fine combing old shops and collectors' godowns, he says he has a near-complete collection.
He had also met the ailing actor some time back, and showed him some of the things that he had in his possession. "Shammi Kapoor told me that even he did not have many things which I now have-like a poster of Dil Tera Deewana and his old interviews," recalled Mr Jayakar. "He was excited about the exhibition I had planned."
"Most of these I bought from Chor Bazaar, and many of these things were given to me by a friend who is an ardent collector of things related to movies," he said. Mr Jayakar's passion for collection has made him a familiar figure at the Chor Bazaar, and so, if anything surfaces related to the actor, the vendors themselves contact him.
While the Shammi Kapoor collection is not something that is considered a conventional memorabilia and may not seem that valuable to other investors, to Mr Jayakar, it is priceless. "For a collector, it is passion first. Shammi Kapoor was my hero. The moment I get hold of one of these things, the kind of happiness I get is unparalleled. What I have today of him is something I value far more than money," he said.
With the domestic auto market going on a downhill slide, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) have cut production. Car makers, however, are hoping that a slew of upcoming new launches will help revive the market
New Delhi: With the domestic auto market going on a downhill slide, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) have cut production as the automobile industry braces up for a single-digit sales growth this fiscal, reports PTI.
Car makers, however, are hoping that a slew of upcoming new launches, including MSI's Swift, Honda's new Jazz and Brio, Volkswagen's Jetta, and the recently introduced Beat diesel by General Motors India will help revive the market.
"Our production is exactly as per demand. We keep in mind the need to keep inventories at both the company and dealers' end in balance," a Tata Motors spokesperson said.
If there is a requirement for adjustment in production, the company does it. At the moment there is a slowdown in demand, he added, but did not specify details of the cut.
In July, Tata Motors' car production was down 26.96% to 19,985 units as against 27,362 units in the same month last year. Its domestic car sales were also down 43.13% to 13,997 units.
Last week, MSI had said it has cut production of most of its models, including the best selling Alto, by 5%, during this month due to slump in demand in the domestic market.
MSI managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi had said the company reduced production of all the models, except Swift and DZiRE in August citing bad market conditions.
In July, MSI's car production was at 72,587 units, down by 21.08% as compared to the same month last year, mainly due to non-production of Swift. Its domestic sales were down by 31.04% to 52,483 units.
While admitting that the market is on a downhill drive, other firms like General Motors India, Honda Siel Cars India and Hyundai Motor India, however, have not taken such steps but are hoping that new launches will help sales counter ticking.
"The industry is in a bad shape. Yet, there are a lot of new launches happening. Any new launch gives an impetus to the market and that should help the market. Moreover, the festive season is round the corner and we are hopeful that the demand will revive," Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said told PTI.
This week Maruti is launching its new Swift, while Volkswagen and HSCI are also introducing new versions of sedan Jetta and hatchback Jazz respectively in the market.
General Motors India (GMI) vice-president P Balendran said a lot of uncertainties like high interest rate and fuel prices were having a negative impact on auto sales.
"Earlier we were expecting double-digit growth but it is likely to be only in single digits this fiscal. If the industry grows at 6%-7%, we should be happy," he said.
In July this year, domestic passenger car sales fell for the first time after 30 months of continuous growth, registering a 15.76% decline mainly due to hikes in lending rates and fuel prices.
This is in contrast to the 29.72% growth witnessed last fiscal to touch 19,82,702 units.
Despite the present situation, Mr Balendran said General Motors India has not cut its overall output due to good demand of the newly launched Beat Diesel.
"As for other models, we have always produced based on demand, which we are continuing that right now," he added.
An official of Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) said the company is not contemplating any move to reduce production at present.
Last month, HMIL had produced 55,353 units, up 5.94% as compared to July last year. Its domestic car sales were, however, down by 11.49% to 25,501 units.
Mr Sen of HSCI also said the company is maintaining production at 5,000 units a month level and there were no plans to change it at the moment despite the difficult market conditions.
"With the difference between petrol and diesel prices, there is a preference for diesel vehicles. We are the only manufacturer without a diesel car in our portfolio. Despite that we are managing well," he said.