Although anti-corruption was the theme of the day, Anna Hazare emerged as the face of the mass movement. At the Freedom Park, the nucleus of the anti-corruption movement in Bangalore, symbols with the picture of Anna sold like hot cakes. By Tuesday afternoon, the organisers had sold around 1,000 t-shirts with graffiti of the Indian tricolours and the anti-corruption message, around 500 ‘Anna caps’ and a large number of badges.
Close to 100 people volunteered for the indefinite fast against corruption and in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill here at the Freedom Park on Tuesday. Though not fasting, at least 500 more were present to lend their support to the movement and express solidarity with Anna Hazare’s protest fast in New Delhi. Simultaneously, there were separate protests in various parts of the city.
There were collective responses to the goings-on in the rest of the country. For instance, the protestors voiced large-scale condemnation of the arrest of Mr. Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. A little later, when news spread about activist and supporter Shehla Masood being shot dead in Bhopal, a minute’s silence was observed.
People from all walks of life and age groups had assembled at the site. The 71-year-old Shivanna Bellad, in the city on personal work, decided to take part in the protest here. “When I go back to Dharwad tomorrow, I will participate in the protest there too,” he shared enthusiastically. IT executive Shriddha Tyagi was seen distributing stickers to vehicles passing by the venue.
This being a protest fast, medical assistance had been ensured. There will be facilities for medical check ups on the first day, “Two big hospitals have offered their help from day-two,” said Prithvi Reddy, the Karnataka co-ordinator for India Against Corruption (IAC).
Hegde encourages youth to participate
The former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, who was present in the morning before making a dash for the protest at Electronics City, urged the youngsters to participate in the movement. “You are tomorrow’s future. We will support you to the extent that we are here,” said.
Condemning the detention of Mr. Hazare and his supporters in New Delhi, he said the Government’s decision to arrest them even before they reached the venue showed that the Government was afraid of them. “This is the next step in the fight against corruption,” he said, adding that it was still not enough.
Almost as if responding to the Lokayukta’s call, college students took permission from their colleges to participate in the protest. “It is great to be part of this movement, which is for the good of our future. People have been coming on their own accord,” said Prerana Haridas, a student of Bhagirathi Bai Narayana Rao Manay Institute of Technology.