School, college students take out processions, hold meetings for the second day in Chennai

The cry against corruption in the city got louder on day two with school and college students holding rallies and meetings in support of Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal bill.

Demanding the unconditional release of Team Anna and permission for holding fast at JP Park and withdrawal of the Centre's Lokpal Bill from Parliament, the Chennai chapter of India Against corruption sought either the introduction of the Jan Lokpal or a nationwide referendum on the issue.

Of the 36 people on indefinite fast, one was hospitalised, two withdrew due to health reasons and an 88-year old person was requested to give up the protest on Wednesday.

There were more students at the fasting venue than on the first day. Students from various colleges arrived in groups throughout the day. About 30 students campaigning in an open van were detained by the police.

By evening, over 5,000 persons had come to the venue, said Bhavana Upadhyaya, an organiser. Later in the evening, families, including children from the local neighbourhood, joined in support.

At IIT-Madras, about 700 students started a march from Gajendra Circle raising slogans against corruption. “We have been watching the events from the time the Delhi Police denied permission for Team Anna. Today's rally was not pre-planned. It was spontaneous,” said Atul, a student. By the time the rally reached the main gate, the student participation had more than doubled with slogans of ‘Vande Mataram' and ‘Jai Hind' renting the air.

As the rally reached the main gate, the authorities asked the students not to venture out as they had no permission to hold a rally on the road.

The students then observed a candlelight vigil.

The referendum conducted by India Against Corruption in 30 public places covering about 10,000 persons showed there was support for Jan Lokpal, said Ms. Upadhyaya. Asked whether the Prime Minister and judiciary should be brought under the Bill, 96 per cent had said ‘yes.'

About 94 per cent said ‘yes' to a question whether the assets of corrupt officials should be recovered and punishment should be part of the citizens' charter of every department, she said.

A few politicians also came to the fasting venue in support. At Tambaram, students and staff of Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial at Chromepet took out a procession from the school premises in Nagappa Nagar carrying placards in support of Anna Hazare after the police granted permission by noon.