Work in full swing at Ramlila Ground (Lead)

August 18th, 2011 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Preparations are in full swing at the Ramlila Ground as several trucks, road rollers and labourers are working relentlessly to transform the ground for Gandhian activist Anna Hazare to resume his fast Friday to demand a more effective Lokpal Bill.

Truckloads of mud were being spread across the ground to cover the flooded potholes due to the recent rainfall in the city as road rollers flattened the ground. Around 20 laboureres were preparing the dais.

“The ground would be readied by evening and we are also making arrangements for drinking water and mobile lavatories which will be in place soon,” an official of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which is overseeing the arrangements, said.

“We will make sure that everything is order as soon as possible and will bring in more people if required,” he added.

The arrest of the 74-year-old Hazare Tuesday ahead of his fast for an effective anti-corruption law fuelled nationwide protests as Hazare refused to come out of jail after he was released the same evening until he was allowed to carry on his hunger strike without any conditions.

On Thursday, Team Anna said Delhi Police had granted them permission to hold the fast at Ramlila Ground for 15 days.

“We have been given the Ramlila Ground for 15 days, and have also been assured by Delhi Police that if we need the ground for more days, we can stay there. The conditions imposed on us earlier have also been withdrawn,” Hazare’s close aide Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi Police personnel with a couple of dog squads swarmed the ground while metal detectors, luggage scanning machines and barricades were in place at all the gates in anticipation. A number of women police officers were also deployed.

“We are ready with our security measures but a lot more officers would be arriving here in a few hours time,” a police official said standing next to hundreds of national flages and booklets on anti-corruption wrapped in cellophane.

Volunteers and Hazare’s supporters with posters and flags in their hands moved around the ground in groups, raising slogans praising the Gandhian and slamming the government.

“We have been from last night waiting for our leader and will continue to remain here till he needs us. The battle has begun and we’ll fight till our last breath,” said a fervent Raman Jha, who has come from Bihar to support the agitation.

While supporters joined from various parts of the country, many locals who had gathered at the ground in anticipation of Hazare’s arrival were left disappointed upon learning that the Gandhian would be coming only on Friday.

“I was waiting for Anna Hazare at Ramlila ground since morning. But now that he’s not coming, I am disappointed,” said Shanti Kohli, a homemaker with a tricolour in hand and donning a ‘I am Anna’ cap.

“I’ve decided to head to Tihar Jail to catch a glimpse of him,” she added.

The Ramlila Ground in central Delhi was also the venue of yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s fast that was violently broken up by the Delhi Police post-midnight June 4.

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