Gathering advised to heed traffic laws, pay taxes and not spit or urinate in public

The Anna Hazare-inspired protests against corruption, entering its ninth day at Freedom Park, appeared to gain further momentum on Wednesday with several organisations and unions using the venue as a platform to voice their concerns before the massive media presence.

Puttappa Nagadi, a farmer from Haveri, said his group had come to highlight the slow progress of the investigations into the 2008 police firing against farmers there. Kaverappa, one of the 50 farmers from Anekal, said they had come here to raise the issue of inadequate compensation offered by the Government during land acquisition for the Peripheral Ring Road.

Too many speakers

As there was a long queue of speakers to address the gathering, many did not get the chance to talk from the dais. “We wanted to address the audience, but because of the long line we could not,” said B.N. Nataraj, president of Karnataka Sanraksha Vedike, a community welfare organisation from Anekal taluk. The 100-strong members of this organisation had to return without voicing their concern.

Volunteers of India Against Corruption (IAC), the group behind the Freedom Park protest, used this platform for larger moral and ethical issues too, asking those gathered to pledge to heed traffic laws, pay taxes on time, and even dissuaded them from spitting or urinating in public.

As was the norm, school and college students were the majority in the protests. Most students had come as a contingent, unfurling banners sponsored by their management.

“This serves as a real-life civics lesson for the students. It is a chance for them to develop patriotism and awareness,” said T. Srinivas, a teacher from Swami Vivekananda Vidyaniketan, Chandapura, who led a march of around 400 high school students.

“We decided to keep the protests subdued in respect of Hazare's health condition,” said Ashwin Mahesh of IAC. He put the number of people who turned up at the park at over 20,000 on Wednesday.

Earlier in the morning, software professionals, students and residents formed a 17-km human chain extending from ITPL in Whitefield to the Sarjapur junction.

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