Anna Hazare threatens 'jail bharo' if demands not met

In a video message, Anna Hazare asked the government to set up of a SIT to probe corruption allegations against Union Ministers, a fast track court to try cases against MPs and bringing a strong Lokpal Bill


New Delhi: Stepping up pressure ahead of the indefinite fast from tomorrow, Anna Hazare on Tuesday issued a new threat of a 'jail bharo' agitation if the government does not concede to their demands in three-four days, reports PTI.


Hazare's video message came a day ahead of his Team's fast from tomorrow in Jantar Mantar demanding setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe corruption allegations levelled by them against Union Ministers, a fast track court to try cases against MPs and bringing a strong Lokpal Bill.


Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai will sit on indefinite strike while Hazare will be not take part in the fast due to health reasons but be on dharna.


In his recorded message, Hazare said, "Let us see what the government does during the fast. If the government does not take any decision (on the demands raised by us) in the first three-four days of the agitation, I will tell people across the country to go on jail bharo agitation.


"Not a single prison in the country should remain vacant," he said, adding going to jail for the sake of the country is an "embellishment for your life".


He said people should consider this protest as a second freedom struggle as the the government was "not doing anything" to bring a strong Lokpal Bill or taking action against corruption.


"Why they are not bringing Lokpal bill. Because 15 of the 35 ministers face corruption allegations. Probe them. Punish them if they are guilty. But the government is not willing to do so. We are left with only one way (to protest)," he said.


No tourism in core areas of tiger reserves: Supreme Court

The apex court said the core zones or core areas in the tiger reserves will not be used for tourism till its final directions


New Delhi: Stepping in to conserve the big cat, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that there shall be no tourism activity in any of the core zones of tiger reserves across the country, reports PTI.


A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Ibrahim Kalifulla also warned of contempt proceedings and imposition of exemplary costs on states which failed to notify the buffer zones in their respective tiger reserves.


"We make it clear that till final directions are issued by this court, the core zones or core areas in the tiger reserves will not be used for tourism," the bench said in its order.


The apex court was also furious that several states despite its earlier directions of 4th April and 10th July had failed to notify the buffer zones in their respective reserves and warned that if they failed to comply within three weeks the defaulting states shall be saddled with a cost of Rs50,000 each, recoverable from the Principal Secretary, Forest of the state concerned.


The apex court also imposed a cost of Rs10,000 each on Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra and Jharkhand for not complying with its directions.


However, counsel for Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand stated that they were ready with the notification and would file appropriate affidavits during the course of the day.


The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by conservationist Ajay Dubey demanding removal of commercial tourism activities from core or critical tiger habitats in the tiger reserves.


On 10th July, the apex court had granted two more weeks "as last opportunity" to states which had defaulted in notifying buffer zones around tiger reserves to regulate commercialisation of revenue land around big cat habitats and help preserve the endangered species.


On 4th April, the court had asked Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra to notify the zones within three months.


Rajasthan had informed the court that it had notified the zones.


Under Section 38(b) and Explanation 1 and 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the states have to notify the list of core and buffer areas of tiger reserves under their respective jurisdiction.


Under the Act, buffer zones are the areas peripheral to the critical tiger habitats or core areas providing supplementary habitats for dispersing tigers and offering scope for co-existence of human activity.


The buffer zones constitute the fringe areas of tiger reserves up to a distance of 10 kms.


It has been alleged in the PIL that in violation of the conservation norms, authorities in various states had permitted large-scale construction of hotels, resorts and tourism projects, thereby gravely disturbing wildlife activities.


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