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Team Anna hands over the torch

Anna Hazare supporters packed the India Gate area on Wednesday,responding to a call for a march to Parliament Street.

Supporters march to Parliament Street

Anna Hazare supporters packed the India Gate area on Wednesday,responding to a call for a march to Parliament Street.

Welcoming the first “direction” of the day,supporters filled the lawns half-an-hour before the march from 4 pm.

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Sharmila Ray,who lives in Greater Kailash,said she was at Chhatrasal Stadium earlier in the day. “It was the main protest site yesterday. So,we headed there this morning. But there was hardly anybody there. We stopped at JP Park on our way back,but the situation was the same,” she said.

Among the crowd were representatives from the LGBT community,holding a colourful banner ‘We are gay. We are with Anna’.

A Class XII student,Ramnath Kumar,said he had come along with 20 classmates. “I have read about the Lokpal Bill. We came to support Anna,” he said.

The crowd circled the Amar Jawan Jyoti three times,before it was asked to move towards Parliament Street by police.

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Leaderless,yet organised,the crowd of supporters marched towards Parliament Street. Traffic was stopped at places to allow the protesters to move and at places the crowd was halted to let the traffic through.

A property dealer from Noida,Sanjay Kapoor (45),had come with his two sons — Shitij (8) and Sahil (13). “I asked them to take leave from school. They must know and understand the country are they inheriting,” Kapoor said.

Vivek Ghosh,a dentist from Khan Market,said he had taken a week off. “I am here with my two sons,both engineers. They have also taken leave from work. We have devoted this week to Anna,” said Ghosh.

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Krishen Lal was part of a group of LIC agents who had come from Fatehabad,Haryana. “More than 20 of us are here today. We will come everyday,” he said.

Divya Goel,a chartered accountant working with an MNC,said: “It’s a national movement of sorts and I wanted to be a part of it.”

At Parliament Street,the crowd seemed to swell,with many climbing trees and walls of the Jeevan Bharti building,opposite the police station.

Hazare’s aide Prashant Bhushan climbed atop a PCR van — the police did not object. The chants of the crowd also found a new tone ‘Yeh andar ki baat hai,police hamare saath hai’.

Medha Patkar,who had accompanied Bhushan,stood on an adjoining police barricade.

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Bhushan said the government would in all likelihood bend to the “will of the people”.

“Anna will commence his fast from tomorrow,from either Ramlila grounds or JP Park. We will communicate the location to you by tonight or tomorrow evening,” Bhushan said.

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Meanwhile,around midnight at India Gate,the agitation was still on.

Sudhir Punia,a realtor from Hisar,Haryana,was at the overnight vigil with 20 others. “I will be there till Anna’s demands are met,” he said.

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Siddhi Walia,a Class XI student,had come with her family. “The plan is to stay here all night,” she said.

First published on: 18-08-2011 at 03:00:56 am
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