From Ground Zero: I am also Anna

Thousands of people came out in support of Anna Hazare, fondly called the “modern Mahatma”.

Updated: Aug 16, 2011, 22:05 PM IST

Biplob Ghosal/ Kamna Arora/ Shruti Saxena

New Delhi: Just a day after Democratic India celebrated its ‘65th Independence Day’, swarms of people from all walks of life chanting slogans of ‘Vande Mataram and ‘Bharat mata’ were seen flocking to the Pragati Maidan in Delhi on Tuesday, to protest against the arrest of Anna Hazare, fondly called the “modern Mahatma”.

In the second round of the Anna Vs Government showdown, people galvanised in huge numbers to show their concern and anger against the inefficiency of the Congress government to tackle the deep rooted menace of corruption.

While talking to Zeenews.com, human rights activist Dilip Puri shared his grievances. Puri said that Lokpal Bill should be passed as it is for the benefit of the people. General masses should be made aware of its clauses which keeps the citizen’s woes as its core objective; only then a revolution can be brought in true sense.

Hitting out at the government he said, “Government is not trying to understand the general public’s sentiments and is not even providing a platform to raise their concerns.”

On being asked as to what extent he will go to support this movement, Puri replied, “We are ready for arrest but the Delhi Police is not actually arresting people, they are just taking them away and dropping them at Karkardooma, Nangloi and other places just to scatter the crowd.”

Sangeeta Saxena, a member of the Fight Against Corruption campaign, expressed her outrage by asking, “Are we better than Kasab? It seems like Kasab is not a terrorist but a citizen of this country and Anna Hazare is corrupt. Who is better?”

BK Nirmal from Delhi, who supported Jai Prakash Narayan at the time of Emergency, said he is back again to join the anti-corruption drive.

Criticising the government, he said, “Prime Minister has no control. There is absolutely no law to catch hold of corrupt in this country.”

“Now this movement will not stop and students are our major power,” he added.

He further said that he went to Chhatrasal Stadium in the morning from where he was taken away by the police, but was later released. An interesting fact that he shared was that the police did not misbehave with him and rather offered to gorge on aloo puri.

Another supporter, Anurag from Noida was furious at the government for not allowing him to enter JP Park, when he went there.

He questioned” Why was he not allowed to enter even when Section 144A does not apply on him?”

People were even seen appealing to Delhi Police to join their anti-corruption crusade.

Yashwant Prakash, a management consultant from Dwarka, expressed his joy that the youth brigade joined there hands and were concerned about a serious issue rather than just watching TV, listening to music and doing social networking.

RK Bhardwaj, advisor, Citizen Foundation, shared his concern and said, “The Emergency imposed at the time of Indira Gandhi was in a positive direction and helped to keep a check on corruption and other wrongdoings in the society, but an Emergency-like situation today is promoting corruption to its peak and the government is solely responsible for it. The person in the government who is sitting quiet at this stroke of the hour should be shameful.”

From students to office-goers to housewives with their children, all were seen here protesting against corruption.

A supporter of Anna Hazare’s crusade, Sumit Sharma, a businessman from Lajpat Nagar, carried his three-year-old kid, Ojas on his shoulders to support Anna’s drive against corruption.

He said, “Annaji is the second national father. I feel India is facing the same conditions which existed at (Egypt’s) Tahrir Square.”

On being asked whether the movement will succeed he said, “We have complete trust in Anna Hazare and the country is ready for the revolution. People are not fighting for land or rupees, but for the common cause of corruption.”

Expressing outrage over the government’s “high-handedness” in arresting Hazare, Nitika, a Gargi college student asked, “Why has Anna been arrested? He was just raising his voice against corruption which is not wrong.”

She also said, “She is ready to court arrest if needed.”

Samarth, an 8-year-old kid from GD Goenka School, and Tarini, a 12-year-old little girl, too joined in to support the common cause and vowed to come even tomorrow for the showdown if needed.

The young brigade said, “They are not scared of the police and are ready to go to jail too.”

Lashing out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for total inaction to curb corruption, Gita Saxena, a house wife from Ghaziabad who carried her two-month-old child said, “She has come out on the streets to revolt as they are now tired of corruption and are ready to support Anna Hazare in his campaign till the end.”

Sushil Awasthi, who was coordinating the movement from Allahabad, mentioned that the
protesters are deciding the future course of action of the movement as per information given by Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi on television. He said, “There is no leader as such, everybody is a leader now and it has become a ‘people’s movement’ now rather than an individual show.”

People also held a candlelight march on Tuesday night at India Gate to support Anna. It seems that the air is filled with patriotism as youngsters as well as old people all were seen enchanting patriotic songs and bhajans like Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram and waving flags to symbolize that they are supporting Anna and his drive. The whole nation is together and awake to fight for the cause.