Hazare starts new hunger strike


Veteran Indian activist Anna Hazare began a fresh anti-corruption hunger strike Tuesday after a procession through Mumbai’s chronically-crowded streets that owed more to traffic jams than triumph.
The 74-year-old was greeted with rousing cheers and frantic waving of the Indian tricolor, despite arriving more than two hours behind schedule at the recreation ground where he will hold his three-day fast.
Compared with his 12-day fast in New Delhi in August, which forced the rewriting of a key anti-corruption bill that he says is still inadequate, the crowds he saluted with clasped hands and a raised fist were sparse.
Only several thousand were on hand to see his arrival on the back of a garlanded truck, escorted by motorcycle outriders, after a trip to pay his respects at a seafront memorial to the independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.
En route, he was jeered and heckled by a group of demonstrators carrying black flags in opposition to his protest while parliament was still debating the new draft of the anti-corruption bill.
Inside the dusty grounds, overlooked by the gleaming glass offices of corporate India, at least 2,000 police officers, plus bomb disposal specialists and an armed response team looked on. Sniffer dogs snoozed in the shade.
The low initial turn-out was perhaps predictable, given the working day and with Mumbaikars legendary for letting little get in the way of making money.
Those there to see Hazare, however, insisted on the importance of making a stand.
“This is the right time for us to wake up,” said retired lawyer M.E. Londhe. “The bill may be passed today but we see it as a starting point,” the 80-year-old told AFP.
“What is going to be passed in parliament today is a farce,” added Vijaykumar Pulstya, a science teacher from Haryana state in northern India.
“This is not the bill that we want… we will not stop our agitation,” the 39-year-old said.
The crowd, which swelled to about 6,000 after Hazare’s arrival, entertained itself with rousing freedom and religious songs at the venue, which is more usually used for rock concerts.
On stage, Hazare — in his trademark white cotton homespun — sat cross-legged, dwarfed by a picture of his idol Gandhi, who launched the “Quit India” movement against British rule from Mumbai in 1942.
Phoolsingh Maurya, a 70-year-old former school head teacher from northern Uttar Pradesh state, said he was confident that pressure from Hazare and his supporters would pay off.
“We have come to the stage where this government has to go. We will not stop until the current government is toppled. We cannot tolerate corruption for decades,” he added.
Protest organisers say at least 100,000 people have signed up for a planned civil disobedience campaign, courting arrest and jail by protesting outside the homes of government ministers and members of parliament.
Volunteers were drumming up more support, awaiting the decision of a typically noisy debate in parliament in New Delhi and Hazare’s reaction.
“I am waiting for directions from my general, Anna,” said Pulstya. “We will do whatever he says and whatever he thinks is right.”


  1. Let give Call for Total boycott of Electrol Polls, of all types , like Gram Panchayat,Nagar Parishad, zilla Parishad, Lok Sabha , rajya Sabha so that all these politicians will come to know that voice of people. At the same time to divide these politicians we should demand President of India From Sheduled Tribe, Prime Minister of Sheduled Caste, Vice President of Muslim, and reservation in cabinet berths of Lok Sabha for the under previlaged community. If they wnat to divide us we should also do the same demanding reservation in allotment of portfolios in ministry similar on the lines of reservation policy with rotation .

Comments are closed.