Support swells for Anna Hazare in Chennai (Lead)

August 17th, 2011 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 17 (IANS) Support for veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare’s demand for a strong anti-corruption bill swelled here Wednesday with a large number of people from varied walks of life pledging support.

“Around 5,000 people visited the protest venue today (Wednesday) till 4 p.m. More office-goers are expected after the office hours,” Bhavana Upadhyaya of India Against Corruption (IAC), the outfit backing Hazare, told IANS.

The IAC is holding protests at a construction site and people are fasting inside the multi-storied building.

Bhavana said that out of the 36 people on indefinite fast, a 55-year-old was hospitalised while the number of people on relay fast has increased to 100.

According to Upadhyaya, 30 students were arrested here for shouting slogans in support of Jan Lokpal-the civil society’s draft of the anti-corruption bill.

Actor-turned-politician Sharath Kumar visited the protest venue and expressed his solidarity with those fasting. Youth power was visible at the venue with large number of students present at the site.

“We are supporting people who are fighting for the welfare of the country. The fight is against corruption that plagues the nation,” R. Dhanya, a student of architecture, told IANS.

Priya Malolan, a housewife who had come with her child at the venue, said: “The nation has to be saved and we are here to lend our support to the noble cause.”

E. Sridhar, a banker, said: “The people who come here are commoners like you and me. They are not part of any political party. Now it is the right time to strike so that the nation gets a good anti-corruption law.”

Around 1,500 students and faculty members of Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial School in Chrompet here also took out a procession.

Meanwhile, around 25 college students hailing from Bihar and Jharkhand, travelling in a goods-carrying vehicle towards the protest venue, had a brush with policemen.

“Seeing the ruckus created by the students the police intercepted the vehicle and brought the students here,” said a police official at the Kotturpuram station.

The students then got in touch with IAC officials who in turn approached top police officers to help the students. On the intervention of police higher ups, the students were let off.

The students said the police had asked them to pay a fine. “The students were not able to speak properly in English or Tamil. We did not ask them to pay any fine. They were let off with an advice not to shout on the streets,” a police officer told IANS.

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