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May 16, 2012 at 11:04pm IST

15 held for protesting at Anna Hazare's rally in Nagpur

Nagpur: Around 15 people demonstrating outside the venue of Anna Hazare's public meeting in Nagpur were detained on Wednesday night by police, even as the Maharashtra state Youth Congress president Vishwajeet Kadam reportedly "justified" the protest.

They were demonstrating against circulation of a booklet allegedly containing some remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, though it is not clear whether the youths were Congress workers, police said.

The said booklet was allegedly distributed on Tuesday by some unidentified persons at Bhandara, about 65 km from Nagpur, during Hazare's visit there.

15 held for protesting at Anna's rally in Nagpur

Anna Hazare is on a tour in Maharashtra from May 1 to spread awareness among people about the need for enacting a strong anti-corruption ombudsman.

The 15 people were holding some booklets in their hands and shouting slogans even as the Gandhian was addressing the public meeting inside the Chitnis Park Stadium when police rounded them up from outside the venue, they said.

Meanwhile, when asked by reporters, Hazare "denied" knowledge of any such booklet being circulated and sought to distance himself from the incident.

Even as the identity of the protesters remained unclear, Maharashtra Youth Congress president Vishawajeet Kadam told a private television channel that the agitation was "justified" in the wake of the names of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi being "unnecessarily tossed up by some people".

However, Nagpur city and district Congress president Jaiprakash Gupta denied involvement of Congress workers saying "the protesters could have been from

outside the city".

Hazare's aide Suresh Pathare told a news channel that a Youth Congress worker from Satara was involved in stone pelting one of the vehicles of the activist's convoy parked near the stadium. Police, however, denied it.

According to sources in the Police Control Room, after addressing the media at Patrakar Bhawan in Dhantoli, Hazare straightway left for the state Guest House at Civil Lines and not to the venue of the public meeting at Mahal, and there was no question of stone pelting on his convoy.

In the afternoon, some unidentified youths waved black flags at Hazare's convoy at a couple of places in the city, while some protesters threw anti-Hazare handbills near Panchsheel Cinema in Ramdaspeth area.

The anti-graft crusader, however, addressed the public meeting in the evening unfazed.

Hazare embarked on the Maharashtra tour from May 1 for spreading awareness among people about the need for enacting a strong anti-corruption ombudsman.

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