Monday, 30 July 2012

: Anna begins indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar

On Day 5 of the indefinite fast, Anna Hazareji joined Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and 400 anshankaris at Jantar Mantar. Supporters turned out in hordes at Jantar Mantar - according to estimates, the footfall at Jantar Mantar touched 1.5 lakh today.

In the evening, another 50,000 people assembled at India Gate circle and walked towards Jantar Mantar with a candle in their hand in support of Annaji. Prashant Bhushan led the rally.

In the morning, Anna ji released Swaraj book written by Arvind Kejriwal written today. Anna Hazareji said that people should read Swaraj and decide for themselves whether it is the government which has drifted apart from the path or the IAC movement. He said that a true democracy is one in which people make decisions and not politicians or bureaucrats. This is the true meaning of Swaraj.

He explained to the people that Gram Sabha was supreme. Its members - those who attain 18 years of age in a village - are the ones who elect MPs and MLAs and send them to Legislative Assembly, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. He explained that Gram Sabha are 'Swayambhu' or self sustainent.

Arvind Kejriwal while releasing the book Swaraj and said, “I would like to thank Vinod Mehta, Yogendra Yadav and Harper Collins. For this book, I travelled for two years and met people and tried to understand their problems. I travelled to Ralegan, Hiwre Bazaar, Kutambakam and to a tribal village called Lekha Medha. I met the sarpanches there. These villages earlier were in a very bad state and poverty stricken. But after these sarpanches took charge, they just did one thing which was different. They took all decisions in an open gram sabha meeting. Today, all these villages have become model villages."
He said, a similar practice of mohalla sabhas should be started in the cities as well.

Recalling his stint in Income Tax department he said, "When I was with the IT department, we had conducted a raid on a Japanese company. The CEO who was a Japanese warned us said that if he wished he could get any law passed in our Parliament and could get us transferred. A few days after that a senior officer was transferred. Then I had thought that maybe he had the power to get us transferred but was bluffing about the getting any law passed issue. My worst fears came true when during the voting for Nuclear Bill, some MPs waived bundles of cash in Parliament."

He said, "we conducted referendum in many areas and found that 90 per cent people wanted Jan Lokpal Bill. Despite that for one-and-a-half years we have been fighting for it and nothing has happened."

He concluded his speech with an appeal to all students to take leave for a week and come out on to the streets for just one week. 

Kiranji addressed the crowd in the afternoon and explained the need to make CBI independent. Prashant Bhushan spoke on the charges against Sharad Pawar, SM Krishna and Kamal Nath. Prashant Bhushan said he was not surprised by the large number of supporters since he knew people would rise up in support of the movement and that the right-thinking people want to save the country from the massive corruption, anarchy and chaos it is currently in.

While the anshankaris might have seen a fall in health, there is no depletion in their spirit. Despite forgoing food for 5 days, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai are showing every sign of seeing this fast through till as long as it takes. Their vitals in the evening were:

Annaji: Pulse - 78, BP-160/102, Sugar-104
Arvind Kejriwal: Pulse-80, BP-110/67, Sugar-75, Ketone-4+
Manish Sisodia: Pulse-84, BP-130/81, Sugar-75, Ketone-4+ 
Gopal Rai - Pulse-76, BP-120/73, Sugar-88, Ketone-5+

Amongst the 400 anshankaris who are on the indefinite hunger strike, 11 had to be taken to hospital due to ill health. 90-yr-old Maniram was in high spirits though, and thanked Anna Hazareji for uniting people – even while he showed signs of weakness and had to be shifted to hospital. A 60-member medical team is constantly monitoring the health of al anshankaris. However, the callousness of the govt was marked by an absence of oxygen cylinders in the Delhi police ambulances which were transferring patients to Ram Manohar Lohia government hospital.

The donation collected was released in the evening. The collection for first 4 days was approximately Rs 12 lakhs.

The anshan carried on across the country as well.

In Chennai, more than 100 protestors sat peacefully in front of Chidambaram's house. They were  man-handled and detained. They were released by evening only.

Many roads of Mumbai were also choked by IAC supporters. Marine Drive was congested by protestors who had come out in droves to support the movement. A massive Car rally was organised today which was flagged off by Anupam Kher.

In Hyderabad, one volunteer (G Venkateshwar Rao, 65) who has become very weak was taken away by the police. Presently 5 volunteers are on Ankshan since the past five days.

In Ujjain, last night 2 anshankaris were brutally hit by unknown people and their tent was completely destroyed. They filed an FIR later in the day.

Agra saw large attendance as well, attended by children and adults. A rally of schoolchildren in support of the July Kranti and indefinite fast took place in Ajmer from Gandhi Bhawan till Collectorate Ajmer.

In Bhiwani, women came out in full support of the andolan and gathered at Nehru Park, Ghanta Ghar in large numbers.

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