No ‘Bharat Mata’ backdrop for Hazare

August 21st, 2011 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) After coming under criticism in April, Team Anna has done away with the “Bharat Mata” backdrop at the Ramlila ground here - a picture that had ignited controversy.

Although Anna Hazare’s earlier five-day fast here forced the government to talk to him about a strong anti-corruption bill, the activist was accused of alleged links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Critics also took on Hazare for lauding Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s developmental efforts. The “Bharat Mata” photograph came under falk for suggesting Hindu rightwing linkages.

This time, a large photo of Mahatma Gandhi forms the backdrop of Hazare’s stage. Organisers say it’s not a conscious effort.

“The image of Bharat Mata does not belong to RSS, anyone can use it. Annaji decides the designs. It’s just that this time we have a different backdrop,” an India Against Corruption (IAC) activist told IANS.

“And the man who made the Bharat Mata backdrop was a Muslim,” said the activist, Aswathi Muralitharan.

This time, organisers have been underlining that Hazare’s fast coincides with Ramazan — the Muslim month of fasting.

On Saturday evening, a group of Muslims broke their fast and offered Namaz prayers in front of the stage.

The group leader later took shouted slogans like “Jihadein Anna!”

A girl also went up to the stage, drank water given by Hazare and broke her Ramazan fast. The crowd cheered on.

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