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Monday, 22 August 2011

Bikers rally to build support for Hazare

MUMBAI: Anna Hazare's battle hitched a ride on Harley Davidsons and Royal Enfield Bullets, roaring through the city with the anti-corruption message from Bandra to Shivaji Park, Siddhivinayak temple, Gateway of India and back to Bandra on Sunday afternoon.

"Anna's fast has entered the sixth day and we want to mobilise thousands of people in Mumbai to fight in the campaign against corruption," said Kishan Bhargava , a 23-year-old law student, before vrooming away on his Royal Enfield. Bhargava said he was there as he had faced corruption first-hand , both during college admissions and from traffic cops.

Nearly 100 bikes with pillion riders carrying the tricolour made their way through Mumbai roads, making heads turn and citizens raising hands in support. Activists from India Against Corruption (IAC), who followed the rally, distributed pamphlets to citizens making them aware of how important it was to get the Bill passed in Parliament.
Vipin George astride his Harley Davidson said, "Most of us (bikers ) are part of a group which goes for thrill rides on weekends. For once, we resolved to ride for a cause. We are with Anna."

Heta Gala, who has just learned to ride her Royal Enfield was the lone woman rider, told TOI she was proud to be part of her first bike rally and that too for a national cause. Amit Jambotkar and his group of 25 bikers also were charged up as they zipped past Bandra bandstand to Azad Maidan.

Said Ruben Mascarenhas of IAC, "We are overwhelmed by the spirit shown by these bikers. They sang the national anthem and shouted patriotic slogans before commencing the journey."

In fact, corruption was topmost on the minds of most Harley Davidson owners too, having it faced it at many stages in their lives, even in getting RTO clearance for the very bikes they were riding.

On Sunday afternoon, the bikers took the first halt at Siddhivinayak temple-usually a crowded area on Sundays where handbills were given to citizens. The IAC members also distributed literature near Gateway of India, a crowded tourist spot on a holiday. Hazare supporters at Azad Maidan came out to cheer the bikers. Amidst a crowd of police and supporters on both sides, the bikers' rally passed with slogans of "Vande Mataram" . While most bikers rode alone, some rode the bikes pillion with supporters dressed in white or saffron.

The bike rally came close on heels of the Jan Lokpal Expressthe train ride by IAC members from Borivli to Churchgate station on Saturday.


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