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Rediff.com  » News » AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

Last updated on: December 10, 2011 21:20 IST

AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

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Priyanka

Protestors AND supporters of a range of issues find a chance to voice their opinions at Jantar Mantar, reports Priyanka

Jantar Mantar is busy readying itself for Sunday, when activist Anna Hazare will go on a token one-day fast to protest against the government's version of the Lokpal Bill.

The day before, the venue is already packed with a few hundred people, with not one but four protests going on simultaneously over a variety of issues.

Like Hyde Park in London, this tourist attraction in the national capital is fast becoming a favourite spot for those who want to make a point, hold a protest, go on a fast.

On this chilly morning, a group of people here are holding banners stating, 'I am corrupt'. This informal group has been put together by Shamira Manwar, founder of Basic Foundations Private Limited. Manwar trains people about the importance of personal values and ethics.


Photographs: Priyanka/Rediff.com

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AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

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"We are all family and friends. We have gathered here, a day before Anna Hazare does, with an important message," she explained. 

 "All corruption begins at the individual level. We have to become honest as people before setting out to achieve anything else," Manwar said.

Plain chart papers are laid out in the open and people sign on it, pledging they will not pay a bribe.


Photographs: Priyanka/Rediff.com

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AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

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A few steps further, D Nalini, a former deputy superintendent of police, is holding an indefinite hunger strike since the last two days for a separate Telangana state.

Surrounded by her family members, she says, "I had announced that I will observe a fast till our demand for a separate Telangana state is met. I have also written to the prime minister but have not received a response yet".

Nalini's other demands include the withdrawal of criminal cases against pro-Telangana activists and an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh for the family members of those who lost their life fighting for the cause. The movement for a separate state has already claimed 700 lives, she said.


Photographs: Priyanka/Rediff.com

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AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

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Interestingly, a meeting of the Rashtriya Goraksha Sena is also going on here, with nearly 30 participants. The Rashtriya Goraksha Sena is active in nine states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

Nine thousand cows have been rescued from illegal slaughter houses in West Bengal this year, said the Sena's national president Ashu Mongia, adding that the organisation will submit an application to the Prime Minister's Office to protest cow slaughter.


Photographs: Priyanka/Rediff.com

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AT JANTAR MANTAR: Mullaperiyar, Telangana and 'goraksha'

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Close to the Goraksha Sena meeting, a few people are on an indefinite hunger strike to seek the reconstruction of the Mullaperiyar Dam.

Dr Simmy Joseph, a doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Rajesh Chandradas, an advocate and Anup Johnny, a civil services aspirant, have entered the sixth day of their hunger strike. But none of them has received any response about their demands from the PMO.

Accompanying them is Rajeev Joseph, state president of the Delhi based Congress South Indian Forum, who says, "All we are asking for is the safety of the people of Kerala".

"We have support from Delhi based Malayali groups and religious and cultural communities. This is a relay hunger strike, and if they can't carry on, then we will substitute them," he said.


Photographs: Priyanka/Rediff.com

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