Fasting, protesting through night with Anna

August 20th, 2011 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Lying supine with his eyes closed, Vijay Kumar Pulstay is fasting since Aug 16, the day Anna Hazare embarked on his 15-day fast for the Jan Lokpal Bill. He is under the observation of doctors at the Ramlila ground which is swarming with the social activist’s supporters.

“I am with Anna till the last breath of my life. I will do everything for the cause Annaji is fighting for,” Pulstay, who is from Sonepat in Haryana, said with gritty determination.

There are many protesters like Pulstay fired by Hazare’s cry against corruption, amid drum beats and slogans that echo at the Ramlila Ground.

Bilat Bandhu, who is from Sitamarhi in Bihar, cycled over 1,100 km to reach the venue of protest.

“I came across Annaji’s fast through a newspaper which got me a little unsettled. And on July 27, I set my journey for Delhi and reached here Aug 14. I have come to help Annaji shape the future of this country,” said Bandhu.

Though the clock strikes 12 midnight and Hazare is sleeping in the water-proof tent behind the stage, which is deserted at night, the cheering supporters of Hazare linger around in the grounds holding flickering candles. The crowd, which ranges from a six-year-old to a septuagenarian, is dancing to the tunes of patriotic songs.

Playing a pivotal role in the movement are numerous posters, paintings and tricolours which hang all around the marquee even as gentle gusts of the midnight breeze make the flags flutter.

At 2 a.m. Saturday, the crowd grows thinner but the zeal of a handful of young supporters is still evident.

“Anna is our hero and we are with him in the fight against this corruption. We salute him for the cause he is fighting for,” said Vishal from Delhi University.

Sloganeering in support of Hazare, many people can be sighted distributing snacks, which the protesters are nibbling.

“We will keep providing food to people until Annaji emerges victorious. This is a revolution and I want to be part of this revolution,” said Kamal Sharma, who was asked to pay a bribe of Rs.100,000 for the admission of his son in a school.

“I am sure that the crowd will show up in great numbers Saturday and Sunday,” an India Against Corruption activist told IANS.

Rains, which last only for 15 minutes, lash the crowd at 3 a.m. forcing them to scurry for cover under a soaked tent. The handful of people who are sleeping inside wake up.

An hour later, the noise and drumbeats can still be heard out loud in the sprawling grounds, where a handful of supporters dance away the wee hours, convinced of their cause.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at gaurav.s@ians.in)

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