Cheers, slogans as Anna leaves Tihar for Ramlila ground (Second Lead)

August 19th, 2011 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) The skies poured and the crowds cheered. Civil society activist Anna Hazare, who is fasting for a stronger anti-corruption law, Friday left the Tihar Jail after three days and slowly made his way through the city to the Ramlila ground where he will continue the protest.

Hazare was greeted by jubilant crowds, some of whom had been waiting since Tuesday when the government arrested him and sent him to Tihar. He was subsequently released but refused to move out of the jail till the government agreed to his conditions.

Hazare, who is on day four of his hunger strike, set off on a journey across the city in an open truck that negotiated its way through massive crowds, shouting slogans and holding aloft the Indian tricolour.

The crowds appeared quite unmindful of the rain, with some saying that it was a good omen before the anti-corruption protest began in true earnest at the Ramlila ground.

As Hazare stepped out of the Tihar Jail, he shouted slogans of “Inquilab zindabad”, “Jai Hind” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.

Hazare acknowledged the greetings of the people and said: “I thank you all for the support. We got independence in 1947 but our fight for complete independence has begun on Aug 16 and we will fight till we manage to get a corruption-free India.”

The 74-year-old Gandhian appealed to people to continue fighting against corruption even if he was not around.

“The fight against corruption should continue whether I am alive or not. It’s a people’s movement and you should fight even after I am gone,” he said to loud cheers.

Calling the crowd to join him at the Ramlila ground, Hazare told the people that nobody should damage public property on the way, and added that people they would encounter on the way were their “brothers and sisters” and nobody should be inconvenienced.

An aide said Hazare would first go to Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and India Gate monument and then proceed to the spacious Ramlila ground.

Hazare had planned to begin his fast for a stronger Lokpal bill at the J.P. Park in the ITO area Tuesday.

Delhi Police imposed certain conditions before the protest could be allowed. Hazare, however, refused to agree, after which the police detained him and his associates Tuesday.

He was sent to Tihar and was subsequently released Tuesday night, but he refused to leave the jail until allowed to carry on the fast without any conditions.

Hazare has been demanding the government to bring the prime minister, higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs inside parliament within the ambit of the Lokpal (ombudsman).

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