Team Anna attacks Ramdev, calls Modi murderer of humanity
Anna Hazare on Sunday joined his three close aides in their indefinite fast while his team attacked yoga guru Ramdev for sharing dais with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, describing the Bharatiya Janata Party leader as a "murderer of humanity".
As Hazare stepped in with his fast on a Sunday, crowds swelled to 9,000 to 10,000 people at Jantar Mantar where he announced a "fast till we get Jan Lokpal Bill", ignoring appeals from his close aides and supporters not to sit on hunger strike.
Crowds poured into the venue throughout the day with activist Arvind Kejriwal, who is fasting for the fifth day, urging college students to bunk classes next week for the sake of the country while another member Kumar Vishwas coming out with a slogan "next week, for country's sake".
The day also saw Team Anna appearing to distance itself from Ramdev who shared dais with Modi, describing the BJP leader as a "murderer of humanity".
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Modi has not done anything wrong: Ramdev
"We were never in agreement with Modi. We are not in agreement with Modi now also. Narendra Modi is a murderer of humanity. It is for Ramdev to clarify on the issue," Singh, who was conducting the proceedings at the Hazare fast venue here, told reporters.
Hazare and Ramdev had earlier announced that both their campaigns will support each other and the yoga guru had addressed the Team Anna protest on Friday.
In Ahmedabad, Ramdev gave a clean chit to Modi on corruption issues, saying, "He has not done anything wrong".
Hazare had last year courted controversy after praising Modi, remarks which were later clarified as commending his initiatives for rural development. A section in Team Anna is against association with Ramdev.
The 74-year-old activist reached Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Sunday morning to slogans of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', 'Vande Mataram' and 'Inquilab Zindabad'.
"My team had told me not to fast citing health reasons.
When over 400 people are on fast, I cannot ignore them and not be on fast. Yesterday, my team appealed to me not to fast but I am sitting on fast from now. I consider I have your permission," Hazare said addressing the gathering.
His announcement led to some of his supporters who were fasting to come near the dais and appeal to him not to fast again, saying his life is valuable and his leadership is needed.
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Image: Baba Ramdev
'Till we get Jan Lokpal, the countrymen will not allow me to die'
Hazare then picked up the microphone and said, "Till we get Jan Lokpal, the countrymen will not allow me to die."
This is the fourth indefinite fast by Hazare since April last year. The April fast was followed by one in Ramlila Maidan in August and in Mumbai in December.
In between, he had single-day fasts in Delhi thrice -- in June and December last year and March this year.
Today's protest also saw the release of a book by Kejriwal titled 'Swaraj', which is being touted as the manifesto of Team Anna.
After the release of the book by Hazare, Kejriwal said, "We appeal to all students to take leave from college for a week and come to the streets. We don't ask them to sacrifice their lives but join the movement for a week."
Before starting his fast, Hazare said the protest outside prime minister's residence was a result of people's anger but disapproved of defacement of walls there.
"How long people will tolerate but if some thing like this (defacement of walls) has happened, I apologise for that.
The slogans (written on walls) were lowly. We should think before taking any such step as people are watching our agitation," he told reporters.
Scores of Team Anna supporters on Saturday protested outside the 7, Race Course Road residence of the Prime Minister and threw coal pieces into the premises besides defacing walls.
Image: Protestors at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
Photographs: Courtesy: India Against Corruption