New Delhi: Supporters of India Against Corruption (IAC) led by Arvind Kejriwal, a prominent member of erstwhile Team Anna, faced lathicharge and firing of teargas-shells by Delhi police on Sunday when they were on the way to the residences of PM Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP chief Nitin Gadkari to demonstrate over the issue of corruption especially against the coal block allocation scam.

This was their second attempt on Sunday to stage protest outside the residences of prominent politicians of the country.

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Leading figures among the demonstrators like Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Manish Sisodia were first detained by the police. Later, the protestors were released and were allowed to hold sit in protest on the road. The demonstrators faced police crackdown near Tughlaq Road in the national capital.  

Earlier this morning, prominent leaders of India Against Corruption were detained during their first bid to hold sit in protest mainly outside the residences of Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari. After the detention for a short while, they were released and were allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.   

The protesters in separate groups marched from Jantar Mantar towards the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Race Course Road, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Janpath and BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Tughlaq Road.
    
Police used water canons and lobbed teargas shells besides using force in Janpath, Akbar Road and Tughlaq Road to disperse the crowd. Kejriwal, who was detained along with Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas from various places, told reporters "Our intention was to show the nation that how BJP and Congress were hand-in-glove over the coal allocation issue. We have done our job, it is time we should go back."
    
The march was stopped at Janpath, Akbar Road and Tughlaq Road but as the protesters tried to jump over the barricades to proceed, police warned them and later resorted to using water canons and lobbing teargas shells.
    
Some of the protesters also punctured the tyres of the buses and refused to move out of the place. Police then used force to remove them from the area.
     
The Sunday protest

The day began on a dramatic note with Kejriwal and five others surfacing in front of the residences of the Prime Minister and Congress and BJP party presidents,

All the six -- Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai, Kumar Vishas, Sanjay Singh and another person -- were later released from custody after being detained for about an hour at the Mandir Marg police station where their supporters staged a protest and prevented police from taking them to Bawana.
    
While Kejriwal and Gopal were picked up from outside Singh's residence, Sisodia and Vishwas were detained from outside 10 Janpath, the residence of the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Sanjay Singh and another person was detained from outside Gadkari's residence.
    
The activists had announced the gherao of the residences of these three leaders alleging that Congress and BJP were hand-in-glove in corruption and involved in the allocation of coal blocks.
    
Though the activists had announced that they will gather at Jantar Mantar and march towards the residences of the leaders, Kejriwal and his aides took others by surprise and came to the protest venues where they were detained.
    
"What wrong are we doing? We are just sitting quietly on the footpath. At least we should be told why we are being detained," Kejriwal said. A spokesperson for the protesters said they did not violate prohibitory orders as only two persons had gathered at the spot.
    
"When Raj Thackeray takes thousands of his supporters without permission for a protest, police provide protection. What kind of politics is this?" he said. Kejriwal said, "we will gherao again. We want to give message to Congress and BJP".

(Agencies)

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