Anna Hazare ends fast

Anna Hazare breaks his fast with coconut water and honey offered by children at Ramlila Maidan, in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Sunday broke his 12-day fast on the Lokpal issue, declaring that he had only suspended his movement and not ended it.

At 10.19 a.m., on a jam-packed Ramlila Maidan, the 74-year-old activist ended his fast by sipping of tender coconut water and honey, which were offered to him by two little girls – Simran (a Dalit) and Ikrah (a Muslim). “This will bring to an end the longest roza in the world,'' said an activist, referring to Ramzan.

Triumphant at securing Parliament's approval on key elements of the Jan Lokpal Bill, Mr. Hazare declared that electoral reforms would be next on his agenda, followed by issues of decentralisation of power, education reforms, labour and farmers' issues.

After the brief address when he emphasised that “non-violence and secularism was the strength of movement,'' Mr. Hazare was driven to a private hospital in Gurgaon for a thorough check-up. He will rest there for two days. The procession carrying Mr. Hazare and his team was besieged by Tricolour-waving, slogan shouting admirers en route.

On the cavalcade reaching the hospital run by Dr. Naresh Trehan, whose team attended on Mr. Hazare through the 288 hours of his fast from August 16, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda enquired about his health.

Later, Dr. Trehan told journalists that Mr. Hazare was “dehydrated and exhausted'' and would be given solid foods gradually.

At the Ramlila ground, Mr. Hazare asserted that even if the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed, he would continue with his agitation for change. “I will not rest until we bring about a change in the system that brings about disparity between the rich and the poor. Exploitative development is not correct, it is destructive. To bring about change I will tour the country. This flame must remain ignited,'' he said to a thunderous applause from thousands of supporters, who waved the Tricolour and raised slogans like “Anna tum sangharsh karo, desh tumhare saath hai.''

Mr. Hazare referred to Parliament's decision to pass on three of his demands — Citizen's Charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas in the States through the Lokpal Bill — for the Standing Committee's perusal. He said the country could be proud of the moment. Thirteen days of agitation had borne the fruit.

“People's parliament” was bigger than Parliament. The anti-corruption movement had created a faith that the country could rid of corruption and “we can go ahead with implementing laws and the Constitution made by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.''

Referring to the ‘right to reject' [a candidate] and the ‘right to recall' [an elected person], he demanded a column in the ballot papers to indicate ‘none' if there were no acceptable candidates in a constituency. “This andolan belonged to all — Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, Dalits. It was a people's movement and its strength was that for all the 13 days it was peaceful and non-violent setting an example before the world,'' Mr. Hazare noted.

Finally, he told his supporters that just sporting “I am Anna” caps was not enough. They must pledge that they would neither give nor accept bribe.

Reacting to the opinion that the ‘sense of the house' resolution on Jan Lokpal issues was not binding on the Standing Committee, Team Anna member and lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, “A resolution backed by the moral and practical authority of Parliament, will be impossible for the Standing Committee or Parliament to ignore when the bill comes back to the House for approval.''

To celebrate their victory, Team Anna held a march at the India Gate in the evening. Thousands participated in it.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 4:19:35 PM |

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