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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Anna Hazare begins 'maun vrat' at Ralegan Siddhi

RALEGAN SIDDHI: As controversy dogs his team, Anna Hazare went into silence mode today beginning an indefinite 'maun vrat' at his native village in Maharashtra for 'atma shanti' (peace of soul).

"Anna began his indefinite maun vrat (vow of silence) this morning. He is sitting under a banyan tree near the Padmavati temple here," Hazare's close aide Datta Awari told told PTI.

Awari earlier in the day said the 74-year-old anti-corruption crusader's vow of silence is for one week. He later clarified that it will be for an indefinite period.

'India against Corruption' activist Shyam Asava yesterday said Hazare will be observing 'maun vrat for one week.

Hazare will stay in a 'kuti' (hut) during the maun vrat, Awari said.

Hazare had been continuously interacting with people after ending his 13-day-old fast for a strong Lokpal bill in Delhi on August 28 and this has put a lot of strain on him, Awari said.

Suresh Pathare, another associate of the social activist, said Hazare is not meeting anyone at present.

More than 1,000 people have visited Padamavati temple since he began his 'maun vrat', he said.

The vow of silence came close on the heels of the recent attack and controversy involving key 'Anna Team' member Prashant Bhushan, who had advocated plebiscite in Kashmir.

Hazare subsequently distanced himself from Bhushan's statement saying he did not agree with it and that it was the senior lawyer's personal view.

Notwithstanding Hazare's clarification on the status of Bhushan in his anti-corruption struggle, serious differences appeared to have cropped up in Team Anna on some important issues facing his campaign.

Hazare's latest position that the Core Committee of his campaign will meet and decide whether Bhushan will continue in his team or not has surprised the other Team Anna members, sources said today.

In two days, Hazare has changed his stand on Bhushan, who is in the eye of the storm for his advocacy of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, thrice, much to the dismay of some of his team members.


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