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Thursday, 18 August 2011

For the first time in their 120-year-old history, Mumbai's dabbawalas to take a break for Anna Hazare

MUMBAI: For the first time in their 120-year-old history, Mumbai's famous dabbawalas, who deliver tiffins service to over two lakh customers daily, will be taking a break tomorrow, to support social activist Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption.

"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 here today.

"To support Hazare, as the whole country is doing so, the 5000 dabbawalas in the city would hold a rally from Churchgate to Azad Maidan tomorrow," Mare said. Asked if their customers would be irked if they fail to deliver their tiffins, Mare said "they love us so much that they wont feel offended with our action." "All this is for a cause which we feel is just," he added.

Anna Hazare is on an indefinite hunger strike and not a fast-unto-death, his associate Kiran Bedi said today.

"As long as he can fast, he'll continue the fast. But the moment Dr Naresh Trehan's team is of the view that he needs medical attention, he will get medical attention because the object is that it is an indefinite fast and not a fast-unto- death," she said.

Permission has been given to Anna Hazare and his associates for his fast at Ramlila Maidan till September two and it is conditional, Home Secretary R K Singh said today. He said the government was not involved in any discussion with Team Anna and it was the Delhi Police which held the talks and resolved the issue "amicably".

The standoff between Team Anna and the Delhi Police come to an end late on Wednesday night following hectic consultations between the two sides over the proposed fast site and the duration of the protest.

Civil society activists today hailed the agreement between government and Anna Hazare on his fast at Ramlila Maidan and demanded that the Jan Lokpal Bill at least be brought to Parliament which could take a call on it.

Delhi Police finally gave Team Anna the permission to fast for 15 days at Ramlila Maidan after marathon discussions between the civil society activists and Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta.

Expressing happiness at the turn of events, close associate of Hazare and former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan said the decision to allow Hazare to fast for 15 days showed that his demands were reasonable and that the government should bring in a new Lokpal Bill after consulting the Gandhian.


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