Bangalore: Thousands of students skipped classes as they thronged Freedom Park here in support of Anna Hazare, with former Supreme Court judge Santosh N Hegde, also joining the dharna.
Hegde, a member of the joint committee on drafting the Lokpal bill who till recently was Karnataka Lokyukta, threw his weight behind the protest for the second day as slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ constantly rent the air.
"Anna is fighting for us. We are here to support him," several students said. Some had even taken permission from their Principal to be part of the protest.
Techies, NGOs and elderly were seen lending support as the crowds swelled, compared to yesterday, with the protest appearing to gather further momentum.
Hegde reiterated that the government made a mistake by arresting Hazare and now wants to rectify it, adding, he is sure the social activist would again be taken into custody when he launches an indefinite fast once released, which would allow it to ‘legitimise’ its move.
He opined that if the Government came out with "open heart and open soul (willingness to look into their version), we (the civil society members) are ready to discussions again".
Capt G R Gopinath, founder of low cost airline Air Deccan, said the fight is not against any political party; it`s against the system.
He said the Government, instead of arresting Hazare, should have opted to discuss the provisions enunciated by Team Anna in Parliament, adding, it should now show ‘grace’ as it`s not too late.
What caught the attention at the protest here is the active participation of employees in the IT sector, who turned up in large numbers with a significant section of them networking with the help of social media like Facebook and Twitter.
"We want to do our bit for the country", said Praful Patil, 23, a software engineer from Wipro who came with six of his colleagues taking compensatory offs after working on holidays over the week-end.
"This is once in a life-time opportunity to end corruption. It`s a golden opportunity. If we lose it, we will not get another chance in 100 years," he said.
Another techie working at HSBC, said that many people who thronged the site were driven by initiatives in social media such as Facebook and Twitter.