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From Tihar to Ramlila maidan: Anna's 2nd freedom struggle begins

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 12:36 IST

From Tihar to Ramlila maidan: Anna and co march on

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Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare came out of Tihar Jail on Friday to launch a fortnight-long protest demanding a strong Lokpal bill declaring that the fight against graft will continue whether he was "alive or not".

Looking fit on his fourth day of fast, the 73-year old Gandhian came out of the jail premises and made a brief address to the waiting supporters that the "second freedom struggle" has started.

"We got freedom in 1947. Now the second freedom struggle has begun on August 16. A revolution has started. The fight against corruption will continue whether I am alive or not," he said as the hundreds of supporters waiting for him since early morning cheered and clapped.

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Escorted by police officials, Hazare came out and mounted a small podium erected just outside one of the gates of the prison that was his home for over 67 hours.

He had refused to come out of the jail on Tuesday despite government ordering his unconditional release after his arrest in the morning to foil his indefinite hunger strike.

In the short speech, he declared that his campaign was aimed at making the country corruption-free.

Before getting on to a mini-truck heading a procession for a short distance, he appealed to his supporters not to indulge in violence or damage public property.



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From Tihar to Ramlila maidan: Anna and co march on

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Flanked by his aides Arvind Kejriwal and Suresh Pathare, the Gandhian also invited them to join his protest that he would begin from the historic Ramlila grounds.

Greeted by rains, the procession made a slow progress as Anna waved to his supporters on his way towards Rajghat where he will pay obeisance to Mahatma Gandhi before proceeding to Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate. From there he will go to Ramlila ground, the protest venue.

"I came here late last night to participate in this mass movement. It is our victory and we will remove corruption from the country with Annaji's help," said Ashok Marwah, a Dwarka resident who was among thousands others anxiously waiting for the Hazare's release.

S P Singh, a businessman who was offering refreshments to people protesting outside the prison, said: "I am happy that Anna will come out from Tihar today. Government must pass Jan Lokpal Bill and accept all demands of Anna unconditionally."




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Meanwhile, police have made elaborate security arrangements to keep any untoward incident at bay.

Around 300 police personnel have been pressed into service outside Tihar.

Apart from this, a team of Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) has also come here along with sniffer dogs.

Notably, Delhi Police had detained Anna Hazare on August 16 hours ahead of his proposed fast at JP Park but had later decided to release him apparently succumbing to widespread pressure from the Gandhian's supporters.

Hazare, however, refused to leave the jail, saying he would only come out when he will allowed to carry out fast unconditionally.

Later, his team had reached an agreement with the government on Thursday morning under which Delhi Police had removed all restrictions and allowed him to carry out his hunger strike for a fortnight in the spacious Ramlila Maidan.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft campaign of Hazare was received mass support from several parts of the country with people turning out in massive numbers in all major cities.

On Wednesday, Hazare's supporters thronged streets of Delhi, carrying out a massive protest march from Jantar Mantar to India Gate. 



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