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Friday, 19 August 2011

Protests, in support of Hazare, continue in Maha capital

Support kept pouring in for anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on the fourth day of the protests at Azad Maidan in Mumbai.

Several associations including 'Bhuleshwar Residents Association', 'Bhuleshwar Federation of Retail Traders', 'Electric Merchants Association' and 'Textile Market Association', held rallies in support of Hazare.

India Against Corruption (IAC), an umbrella group of people and organisations, who have come together to demand enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill, collected Rs 1.5 lakh through donations.

"We had kept a donation box at Azad Maidan for two days and have collected Rs 1.5 lakh. The donation amount ranged anywhere between Rs 10 and Rs 1,000. The funds will be utilised for setting up mandals, putting fans and other things for those who are supporting Anna," Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai unit in-charge of India Against Corruption (IAC) told PTI.

However, being a holiday, the number of agitators was lower on Friday, as compared to the previous days.

"The crowd is less today...people have their jobs and other work. But we are expecting more people on weekends. Also, we will have a rally on Sunday named 'One-lakh' from Bandra to Juhu," Gandhi added.

For the first time in 50 years, around 5,000 establishments that came under the Textile Market Association, were kept closed. The Textile Market Association, with approximately 50,000 to 70,000 members, have given a call of total bandh in support of Hazare.

"We suffer the most, when it comes to corruption. We are forced to pay bribe to every government department for every small or big work. Anna is not a self-interested man. He has become an idol for all of us," Textile Market Asso. president Rajiv Singhal said.

Over 400 members of Bhuleshwar Residents Association and Bhuleshwar Federation of Retail Traders Association conducted a rally from Bhuleshwar to Azad Maidan.

Also, 500 shopowners from the Electric Merchants Asso. organised a candle-march from Lohar Chawl to Zaveri Bazaar.

Anupam Pandya, a former Air India employee, who took on the airline's management over the issue of non-licensed staff, has been fasting with his wife Madhu.

"This time, the support is ten times bigger than what it was in the month of April. People have awakened and it is Anna, who has made all of us realise about the rights of a common man. This time, women are also coming in, though not more. I hope the men who are present here bring their wives also," Pandya said.

Project director of NGO Vanashakti, Stalin D says, "Anna is trying to put fear of law into the people who have been breaking it for long. He has become a rallying point for everybody who is fighting corruption."

Environmental Activist Sumaira Abdulali, who has been attacked on more than one occasion for exposing the sand mining mafia, said, "I don't think since Gandhiji, we have had a single person, who has brought people out on to the streets in such large numbers.

However, doctors are also keeping an eye on the health of those, who are fasting.

"Over sixty people are fasting here. Their blood pressure is falling and they have been advised to consume a lot of water. There are a few, who have a history of health problems. If they continue with the fast, their health might deteriorate over the next couple of days," Dr Pratik Vadgaonkar said.


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