New Delhi: On third day of his indefinite fast, Anna Hazare regretted the attack on media by his supporters and warned that he will call off his fast if they again indulge in violence. "Media and we have to work together to strengthen democracy. I request all not to misbehave to media from next time. If any such thing happens in future, I will stop my agitation, there and then," he said at Jantar Mantar.
"If the media coverage is not the right way, we should not blame them, should introspect and see if there is any problem in us that such reports are coming. It’s wrong to blame the media. I regret that some people have misbehaved with media," he added. Anna Hazare said he was saddened by what has happened. "I apologise on behalf of my supporters and team," he said.
However, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal blamed the editors of the media organisations for the controversy. While addressing the crowd at Jantar Mantar, he said, "The journalists are covering the protest but the editors of various news organisations are not reporting the coverage."
Anna warned his supporters against indulging in any kind of violence and apologised for the misbehaviour with the media.
He added, "The reporters and crew members of various news agencies have become a part of our agitation. They are not to be blamed. I request supporters not to misbehave with them. It is the media owners who are not running the news."
"Shanti bhushan had said that media owners have to decide who they are with. This provoked people here. I apologise for the misbehaviour. If we have differences of opinion with the media we have to sort it out through dialogue. But I have to ask the media owners whether they are with the country," he said.
Team Anna member Manish Sisodia also tendered apologies, saying that the media had been a big supporter of their fight against corruption since it started 2011. "Monday's incident is a lesson for us, I am ashamed. We have to remain non-violent. The government wants that supporters turn violent," he said.
Meanwhile, sources have indicated that there will be no appeal from the government to the social activist to call off the fast. The government is, reportedly, also planning not to hold any discussions with Team Anna.
They are waiting for the select committee's recommendation on the Lokpal Bill. Sources added that although the government reached out to Anna in good faith, it is now a matter of history.
Countering the government's stand, Anna in tough posturing retorted that he won't talk even to the Prime Minister. Anna ruled out any talks with the government or even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to end their stir and expressed readiness to return Padma Bhushan award bestowed on him, even as government showed no signs of initiating negotiations with his team.
The statement from Anna came on a day when his close aides Arvind Kejriwal and Gopal Rai, whose fast entered the seventh day, were advised hospitalisation by doctors but they rejected it saying they were "not cowards who will give up because of health concerns".
During his address to protesters at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday evening, Anna said "the government says they will not send any representative to talk to us. We don't want anyone to come and talk to us. We don't need ministers to come and talk to us. The agitation will continue till our demands are met."
"I am not even ready to talk to the Prime Minister.. I can return Padma Bhushan right now. The people have given me such a big award," Anna, who was awarded Padma Shri in 1990 and Padma Bhushan two years later, said.
He said he had earlier returned Padma Shri on the issue of corruption. "These awards were given to me not that I asked these. I am doing it for my country and for my people," he said.
As his fast entered third day, the 74-year-old activist said he has decided that he will sit here again and again "until that flood of good politics comes".
Earlier in the day, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan targeted the government for not initiating a dialogue with Team Anna alleging that they want people like Hazare to die so that they can continue to loot the country. "Government yesterday said they were not ready to talk to us. This is their attitude. They have utmost disrespect for people. They want people like Anna, Arvind, Manish and others to die so that they can continue their loot," he said.
With Additional Inputs from PTI
- Anna says he may return his Padma Bhushan
- Anna sorry, but team blames media editors
- Team Anna now targets media, calls it biased