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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Dabbawalas take a break to support Anna

Mumbai's famed dabbawalas (tiffin-box carriers) will skip work on Friday for the first time in over a century backing Anna Hazare's campaign against corruption, as the Gandhian's supporters erupted in joy on Thursday after he won permission to fast at Ramlila maidan. Support continued to pour in for Hazare in several cities and towns with students and youths appearing to be at the forefront to keep the momentum going.

Activists of BJP's student wing ABVP staged a dharna as part of bandh call given to express its solidarity with the anti-corruption crusader.

Hazare's supporters outside Tihar jail broke into cheers and shouted anti-corruption slogans after he got permission with some conditions for his indefinite fast at the historic Ramlila maidan in Delhi.

Several schools and colleges remained closed in Madhya Pradesh in support of Hazare's 'India Against Corruption' campaign. Lawyers at Bhopal also stayed away from work affecting court proceedings.

"In the last 120 years, we have not had the occasion to take a day off, come rain or shine. We never stop work. But we have decided to back Hazare's agitation," Sopan Mare of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association told reporters in Mumbai

"To support Hazare, as the whole country is doing so, the 5,000 dabbawalas in the city would hold a rally from Churchgate to Azad Maidan tomorrow," Mare said. The ubiquitous dabbawalas cater to around two lakh people daily.

Rains did not dampen the spirit of protesters who continued to throng the Freedom Park in Bangalore where they continued their dharna for the third day, with veteran Gandhian HS Doreswamy and former Supreme Court judge Santosh N Hegde among them.

BJP held a protest near Mahatma Gandhi statue on MG Road but former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa who had said he would participate in it, was conspicuous by his absence.

A bandh was also observed in Hazare's home district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra with thousands of youth participating in the peaceful protests for a strong lokpal.

According to Ahmednagar district police, about 50,000 youth took to the streets at 59 locations in the district.

The protesters comprising lawyers, doctors, students and housewives and even commercial sex workers, came out in support of Hazare at various villages and raised anti-government slogans.

For the second day, IT professionals holding placards and carrying the national flag took out a march in Kochi raising slogans against the arrest of Hazare.

The march was taken out during the lunch break at the Infopark. A relay fast was also organised at the Gandhi Bhavan in which women volunteers are also participating.

Protest walks were held across Goa and most colleges witnessed sparse attendance in the wake of bandh call given by ABVP.

The famed Azad Maidan in Panaji witnessed around 250 students holding protests till afternoon.

Rallies were held in major cities like Ponda, Margao and Vasco where thousands of students waving tricolour shouted pro-Hazare slogans.

Continuing their support to Hazare's anti-corruption campaign, a large number of people observed fast in Chennai.

In Coimbatore, 1,500 lawyers boycotted proceedings in the district courts condemning the Union Government and Delhi Police for their action in taking Hazare into custody.

CPI activists staged a demonstration in Bhubaneswar and demanded inclusion of prime miniser within the ambit of the proposed Lokpal legislation.

Shouting slogans against the crackdown on Hazare and his associates in Delhi on Tuesday, the protesters, many of whom donned Anna's masks, staged a dharna at Rajmahal square, disrupting traffic in the busy commercial area for some time.


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