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Rediff.com  » News » In PHOTOS: Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

In PHOTOS: Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

Last updated on: August 28, 2011 15:18 IST

Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

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As social activist Anna Hazare ended his hunger strike on Sunday, the entire nation erupted in celebrations. Toral Varia captures to mood at Ramlila Maidan, which was the epicentre of the 12-day stir.

Five-year-old Simran and eight-year-old Iqra, a Dalit and a Muslim girl from neighbourhood of the New Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, were especially invited on the stage Anna Hazare called off his 12-day long fast, in an attempt to send out a clear message to his critics from the Dalit and Muslim communities.

Amidst cheering and slogans from supporters, Hazare was given honey and coconut water by the two girls. However, while addressing the crowds Anna insisted that he was just suspending the fast and urged the people to continue the campaign against corruption. He said, "Anshan chhoda hai lekin andolan sthagit nahin kya hai."

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Image: Hazare broke hus 12-day fast on Sunday at the Ramlila Maidan

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Crowds started pouring into Ramlila Maidan to witness the moment that the whole nation had been waiting for anxiously. Those present at the ground were overwhelmed and excited and tried to break the barricades to jump into the media enclosure prompting members of Team Anna to request them to maintain discipline.

Around 9:30 hours Hazare made an appearance dressed in his trademark white kurta and donning the Gandhi topi flanked by members of his core team -- Right to Information activist Arvind Kejrewal, former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi and a few others. Several children were also brought on the stage and they all sat around him.


Image: Simran (2nd L) and Ikra wearing traditional caps offer coconut water and honey to Hazare
Photographs: Reuters
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Minutes later, Kejriwal took to stage and thanked everyone from Jai Hind, force in-charge of security at the maidan, Medanta Medicity, organiser of logistical facilities, all donors, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi police and the media, in a speech which lasted 30 minutes.

Declaring that the Delhi police was just performing their duty, Kejriwal claimed that some policemen joined the protests after duty-hours, prompting chants of 'Yeh andar ki baat hain, Dilli police apne saath hain' from the supporters.


Image: The nation celebrated as Hazare broke his fast
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

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"We are grateful to the police who arrested us and transported us safely to Tihar jail. We are also thankful to the administration in Tihar. The way Tihar officials served us, it felt like we were at home and not in a jail," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said that even though the Parliament was supreme, the people of this country were bigger than the Parliament.

"When our system was established, the members of Parliament were supposed to involve people in formulating laws. This has gradually changed and today we have a strange democracy in which laws are formulated neither by the people nor by their representatives. Instead, they are formulated by party high commands. For the first time since Independence, a law is coming which is formulated after a national debate involving all citizens for over six months," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal wound up his speech at 10.13 hours as restless supporters threatened to spill into the media enclosure.


Image: Kiran Bedi waves the tricolour at Ramlila Maidan

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Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

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At 10.15 hours, Hazare formally broke his fast by sipping coconut water offered to him in a steel glass by Simran. In his subsequent speech, he congratulated and thanked all the people for "their victory."

Saying that his "fight for change" would now spread to the spheres of governance from election reforms to labour reforms to education reforms, Hazare said that the flame of revolution should not be allowed to extinguish.

Image: Thousands of Hazare's supporters poured into Ramlila Ground to watch him break the fast
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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Hazare breaks fast after 288 hrs, nation rejoices

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Both Hazare and Kejriwal made references to Dr BR Ambedkar and said that they fully support Dalits and their causes. It may be recalled that earlier this week the Dalit community took out a protest against Hazare.

"Some Dalits think that we are against law, but that is not the case. We never asked for a change in law. We respect Dr Ambedkar completely," Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said that celebrations will continue at India Gate at 18:00 hours.


Image: Hazare's supporters break into a celebration
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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After addressing supporters, Hazare was driven in an ambulance to Medanta Medicity in Gurgaon followed by a large contingent of the core committee members and two police escort vehicles. The contingent only grew larger en routes with more and more supporters and media vehicles trailing along.

At Mendanta hundreds and hundreds of supporters were waiting to get a glimpse of Hazare. It was with great difficulty and some cajoling by Kejrewal and key Hazare aide Manish Sisodia the crowds backed out and the Gandhian could finally be transported to Room Number 4303 on the 13th floor of the hospital. He is likely to be discharged after 3 days.

Image: Hazare waves to his supporters at Ramlila Maidan
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com
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