In a groundswell of support for social activist Anna Hazare, protesters in Mumbai intensified their agitation on Thursday for the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill. They put on Gandhi topis sporting the slogan “I am Anna Hazare.”
The agitators, who gathered at the Azad Maidan, have planned for April 12 a jail bharo andolan, the registration for which has already gathered momentum. As their numbers rose, the protesters wanted to march on the streets of the city to spread the word on the movement against corruption. They were, however, stopped from coming out of the Maidan by the police, who cited law and order concerns.
While political leaders were turned away from Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, where Mr. Hazare has been observing fast, in Mumbai political parties are jumping on his bandwagon.
In a statement, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray said: “I don't know how many worms of corruption will be killed through Anna's agitation, but in the interest of the country and the people, we declare our support to the andolan.”
Jayant Patil of the Peasants and Workers Party joined the protestors at the Maidan to announce his party's support.
The movement, which has galvanised youth, saw a number of them rallying behind the cause of the Bill, throwing career concerns to the winds.
Naresh Thakur, 26, quit his job at a BPO to join the fast. “Do I have an option? My passion for the nation is much more. My nation needs me right now. I was hurt by the 2G scam. I am sick of all the scams. I am not a victim of corruption, but I do not want to wait to be a victim of corruption,” he said.