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This article was first published 13 years ago

Hazare begins fast unto death against corruption

Last updated on: April 5, 2011 14:11 IST

Image: Social activist Anna Hazare addresses supporters as he began his fast unto death against corruption in New Delhi on Tuesday
Photographs: Courtesy: India Against Corruption

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare started his indefinite fast unto death on Tuesday to press for the demand to involve civil society in formulation of the anti-graft Lokpal (ombudsman) bill. 

Hazare visited Rajghat on Tuesday morning before proceeding to Jantar Mantar via India Gate to start the protest.

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'PM Singh's rejection saddened me'

Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Talking to mediapersons in New Delhi, Hazare said that he was saddened when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the demand by leading civil society members to include them and senior ministers in the joint committee to draft the Lokpal bill.

Earlier, Hazare said that the government, which is corrupt in every way, will not succeed in stopping this law from getting passed and that he would leave no stone unturned to achieve this.

"I have dedicated my life for the service of my nation. I have not gone to my own house from the last 35 years. I want that poor people should get justice. I want the money back, which we are losing out to corruption. And this government is aiding all the corrupt people," he added.

'Present Lokpal bill is useless'

Image: Social activist Anna Hazare leads an anti-corruption protest in New Delhi on Tuesday
Photographs: Courtesy: India Against Corruption

The Lokpal bill (Ombudsman bill), 2010, which awaits a select parliamentary committee's nod, provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, ministers and lawmakers.

Hazare contended that the Lokpal Bill, in its present form, is useless and has drafted a separate Jan Lokpal bill (Public Ombudsman Bill), taking into account the views and suggestions from civil society and common people. 

Hazare is a member of the 'India Against Corruption,' an NGO that includes several eminent social activists including Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh fighting against corruption.

Hazare gets home support

Photographs: Courtesy: India Against Corruption

Meanwhile, in his home state Maharashtra, there is growing support for Anna Hazare who began his indefinite fast in Delhi.

During 'Gudi Padwa' celebrations in Hazare's village Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district, villagers displayed their support by putting up black clothes in on their 'gudis' as a mark of protest against government.

Requests to Hazare by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and MPCC president Manikrao Thakre to defer the fast were of no avail as the veteran Gandhian began his hunger strike at Jantar Mantar.

A rally of around 100 cars and bikes was organised from Shivaji Park in central Mumbai to Azad Maidan on Tuesday morning, as a part of the protest.

"Several people have pledged their support via text messages and e-mails. Others are fasting at their homes or offices," Mayank Gandhi of NGO Jagrut Nagrik Manch said.

"In the evening, activists will distribute pamphlets near the CST station to make citizens aware of the issue of corruption menace and the imperative need of the Lokpal Bill with people's participation," he said.