Stay away from violence, Anna tells supporters (Lead)

August 23rd, 2011 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Declaring that he was in good health despite his weight loss, Anna Hazare Tuesday asked his supporters not to resort to violence under any circumstances.

“Do not take to violence. If you do, the government will crush you. The government is very powerful,” Hazare told a large crowd at the Ramlila ground here on the eighth day of his fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill.

Non-violence, the 74-year-old said, “is a very powerful weapon”.

“This is the reason the government has not been able to crush us so far,” he said.

Hazare also urged the crowds gathered at the sprawling ground to picket homes of MPs if the Jan Lokpal Bill drafted by the section of civil society he heads is not passed by parliament by Aug 30.

Hazare insisted that he had sound health despite eight days of staying away from solid food.

“It’s the eighth day of my fast and I am fine. There is nothing to worry. I am confident that the team of (doctors) will not let me die,” he said.

Doctors have said the former soldier has lost 5.5 kg since Aug 16 when he began his hunger strike.

“I am sitting here for the sake of the country and its people so that they get a corruption free India.

“I will consider myself fortunate if I die for this cause. Anna or no Anna, do not allow the torch of this movement to be extinguished,” he said to wild applause and slogan shouting.

Hazare said that he has been told that a group of people came drunk to the venue and created ruckus last week.

“It is sad and I appeal to all of you not to come drunk here. Even otherwise, you should not drink or smoke as it affects health,” he said.

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