New Delhi: The government’s worst fears appear to have come true as the nation gears up for a prolonged fight against corruption, rallying behind Anna Hazare, the 74-year-old frail man from a nondescript village in Maharashtra.
Nationwide protests continued for the second consecutive day on Wednesday against the arrest of Anna Hazare. People are protesting across the country in as many as 20 cities against the action on Anna and to press for a stronger Lokpal Bill.
The veteran Gandhian is adamant on his demands -- which the government is not willing to concede. Not just the government, the opposition parties are also yet to support all provisions of Anna’s version of the Lokpal Bill.
In the national capital, thousands of people in solidarity with Anna Hazare, marched from India Gate to Parliament Street near Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.
Many more Anna supporters have converged outside the Tihar Jail and are shouting slogans in support of Anna, who has refused to come of jail till he gets unconditional permission to hold a protest fast.
Lawyers observed a one-day token strike in all the six district courts in Delhi protesting non-inclusion of judiciary in the Lokpal Bill among other issues, interrupting the proceedings in the 2G case.
The Delhi Auto Union came out in support of the ‘second freedom movement’ to join Anna’s fast and announced that they would observe a bandh.
Maharashtra has been the hotbed of the protests as the 74-year-old Gandhian`s native village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district observed a bandh. Protesting farmers also came out on the roads along with their cattle and blocked traffic.
Protests were held in Mumbai as supporters of the Gandhian thronged the Azad Maidan in the southern part of the city, protesting the "undemocratic" manner in which the 73-year-old was taken into custody. A grand torch rally was held this evening in Andheri (W).
Thousands braved continuous rains to throng the streets in support of Anna. The Chhatrasal Stadium where Anna supporters have been put up following their detention for flouting prohibitory rules has turned into a hotbed of peaceful protests.
TDP supporters demonstrated across Andhra Pradesh against Anna’s arrest. TDP chief and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu led a dharna at a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secunderabad.
Thousands of students in Karnataka skipped classes as they thronged Freedom Park in Bangalore at a rally. Former Supreme Court judge Santosh N Hegde also joined the dharna.
In Indore, BJP workers staged a sit-in waving placards against the police action against Hazare.
The Orissa Assembly was adjourned twice amid uproar as BJP and ruling BJD MLAs condemned the police action.
In Tamil Nadu, a large number of people observed fast and more than 300 activists assembled at Adyar in Chennai under the banner of "India Against Corruption", an umbrella body of the citizen`s movement fighting for a powerful Lokpal Bill.
Bihar unit of `India Against Corruption`, the umbrella body of the citizen`s movement fighting for a strong Lokpal, on Wednesday said its members would start a wider contact programme in the state from Thursday.
"Our activists will visit every village and town in the state as part of wider campaign expressing solidarity with the movement launched by Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare against corruption," state IAC convenor Sanjay Kumar Dutta said.
In Jammu, unwavering supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare staged demonstrations and took out protest rallies against the Centre for arresting the Gandhian.
Hundreds of demonstrators converged on Jammu-Pathankote highway at Traro area in the district and took out a protest rally. The rally, however, caused inconvenience to the commuters.
Over 300 students of the North East Regional Institute of Science and Technology at Nirjuli in Arunachal Pradesh took out a procession in support of Hazare which culminated near the deputy commissioner`s office at Naharlag.
Supporters of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Wednesday staged demonstrations across the state. In Ghaziabad protesters burnt an effigy of Union Minister Kapil Sibal. A total of 151 protesters were arrested and later released, police said.