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No `Bharat Mata` backdrop for Hazare

Last Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011 - 19:55

New Delhi: After coming under criticism in April, Team Anna has done away with the "Bharat Mata" backdrop at the Ramlila ground here - a picture that had ignited controversy.

Although Anna Hazare`s earlier five-day fast here forced the government to talk to him about a strong anti-corruption bill, the activist was accused of alleged links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Critics also took on Hazare for lauding Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi`s developmental efforts. The "Bharat Mata" photograph came under falk for suggesting Hindu rightwing linkages.

This time, a large photo of Mahatma Gandhi forms the backdrop of Hazare`s stage. Organisers say it`s not a conscious effort.

"The image of Bharat Mata does not belong to RSS, anyone can use it. Annaji decides the designs. It`s just that this time we have a different backdrop," an India Against Corruption (IAC) activist said.

"And the man who made the Bharat Mata backdrop was a Muslim," said the activist, Aswathi Muralitharan.

This time, organisers have been underlining that Hazare`s fast coincides with Ramazan -- the Muslim month of fasting.

On Saturday evening, a group of Muslims broke their fast and offered Namaz prayers in front of the stage.

The group leader later took shouted slogans like "Jihadein Anna!"

A girl also went up to the stage, drank water given by Hazare and broke her Ramazan fast. The crowd cheered on.


First Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011 - 19:55
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