Support swells for Anna in Mumbai

Citizens start spontaneous initiatives

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | August 18, 2011



Support for Anna Hazare and his movement against corruption continues to swell in Mumbai.

Many NGOs and private organizations like F North ward citizens forum, H-West Ward Federation, Sunday friends, Karamyogi Pratisthan and Shakti Sajjak joined in along with Indian Gymkhana, Matunga Gym, Gujarati Club, Lions Club, Sion and Shanmukhnanda. Across Mumbai rallies and protest marches were held at  Thane Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Ddombivali, Mira Road, Andheri, Sandhurst Road, Virar and Matunga. Candle light marches were held across the city at Borivli, Bandra, Ulhasnagar, Kharghar, Opera House and Bhayandar.

In a major protest march held by organizers India Against Corruption last evening, nearly 7,000 people  participated in the ‘Mashaal rally’  from Andheri station. Amidst chanting, “vande mataram”,” raghupati raaghav raajaram: patit paavan sitaram”, “thanda thanda cool cool;anna hazare wonderful”, “Annaji aap aage badho; hum tumhare saath hain”, the crowd booed the police with “Yeh andar ki baat hai; police hamare saath hai”. More and more people joined in as the march moved through SV Road, Irla , Juhu and culminated at the Shivaji Statue on the Juhu beach.

Against  the backdrop of the blowing sea winds, Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai coordinator of India Against Corruption, explained the consequence of the Jan Lokpal Bill on a low volume speaker but the crowd - mainly college students, young professionals, housewives and senior citizens - listened with rapt attention. Candles were lit in a silent protests as small groups of youngsters sat with posters of the 74-year-old leader.

"We live in a first-class country with a third class government," Gandhi said to the crowd amidst cheers. 

Every alternate day from 6-30 am to 8 am on Borivali-Churchgate route Prakash Mehta, a 56-year-old Santacruz resident, has been giving lessons to fellow travelers on the lokpal bill. “The satisfaction equals to feeling as if I were earning Rs one crore rs every day. The lokpal bill is not for Anna Hazare, it is for us,” he says. Coming from a family of freedom fighters he distributed 2,000 leaflets on Anna Hazare and lokpal bill during last three days.

Hansel D souza, president of Juhu Citizens Welfare Group and a corporate trainer, said, “Manmohan Singh is the most honest prime minister we have who is presiding over the most dishonest government we ever had. Which other government has ripped this country of lakhs of crores of rupees with PM looking the other way? Being honest is not a virtue when you allow dishonesty. That’s why we cannot rely on individuals to police political system. We need a strong Lokpal Bill and that alone will give us a low-corruption system as the current system is designed for corruption.”

A group of 35 young professionals was slated to ask citizens not to pay indirect taxes  to the government by boycotting work for a day, shutting business establishments, avoiding  financial transactions and trade, eating in restaurants, buying fuel and use of public transport.

“The government may not listen to the common man but will definitely hear out  capitalists, corporates and FIIs. If an old man can starve for us for days, I am sure to support him we can do this atleast! This is an awakening, remember if you don’t do this today, you will never be able to face yourself and call yourself a proud son of the soil,” says Avinash  Singh.

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