New Delhi, Mar 23: Anna Hazare, the anti-corruption crusader, started an indefinite hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan on Friday, demanding a competent Lokpal and better production cost for farm produce. Hazare and his supporters first visited Rajghat from Maharashtra Sadan and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Then they head towards Shahidi Park to pay tribute to martyrs and then proceed to Ramlila Maidan where he held a massive protest and hunger strike against corruption in 2011. Also Read - Kejriwal's Dinner Diplomacy: First 'Cabinet Meet' Over Dinner; No Swearing-in Invitation to Anna Hazare
Speaking to reporters, a close aide of Hazare said,”The day, March 23, has been chosen on purpose as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged to death on this day by the British.” Also Read - Activist Anna Hazare Begins 'Maun Vrat' for Speedy Justice in Nirbhaya Rape Case
Talking to ANI, Hazare hit out at government and said,”You cancelled trains carrying protesters to #Delhi, you want to push them to violence. Police Force deployed for me as well. I wrote in many letters that I don’t need police protection. Your protection won’t save me. This sly attitude of the government is not done.” Also Read - Women Safety: Anna Hazare Writes to PM Modi, Says Will Observe 'Maun Vrat' on December 20
In view of the agitation, the Delhi Traffic Police has also issued an advisory, warning commuters to avoid taking routes towards Aruna Asaf Ali Road, Delhi Gate, Darya Ganj, New Delhi Railway Station, Ajmeri Gate, Paharganj, ITO, Rajghat, Minto Road, Vivekanand Marg, and JLN Marg.
Meanwhile, scores of people gathered in Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan to support Anna Hazare, who is protesting to bring about a competent Lokpal and ensure better production cost for farm produce. “I am here to support Anna Hazare ji as corruption is crossing all limits. Poor people are facing problems,” Rajendra Singh, a supporter told ANI.
“I am here to pitch for the establishment of corruption-free India. Lokpal Bill should be introduced,” another supporter told ANI.
Maharashtra’s Irrigation Minister Girish Mahajan had earlier met Hazare to persuade him to give up his fast, but the activist, who has put together a team of around 6,000 people across India for the purpose, indicated that he would continue until Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came up with a concrete proposal to empower the Lokpal.
Earlier, 31 apolitical farmer associations from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh had met to set the agenda for the March 23 satyagraha. Retired Supreme Court judge and former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde has announced that he would join the social activist’s agitation.
In 2011, the anti-graft agitation by Hazare had received the support of millions of people across the country. Some of the main organisers behind that anti-corruption movement later formed the Aam Aadmi Party.
(With inputs from ANI)