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Nationwide Protests Continue: Dabbawalas, Lawyers Go On Strike

Mumbai/Patna, Aug 19: For the first time in their 120-year-old history, Mumbai's famous dabbawalas, who deliver tiffins to over two lakh customers daily, today took a break to support social activist Anna Hazare in his
PTI August 19, 2011 19:02 IST

Mumbai/Patna, Aug 19: For the first time in their 120-year-old history, Mumbai's famous dabbawalas, who deliver tiffins to over two lakh customers daily, today took a break to support social activist Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption.

“We don't have any demands of our own. We are here for Anna,” a dabbawala told reporters at Azad Maidan. “Anna ji, we will be with your forever,” he said.

“In the last 120 years, we have been on the job, come rain or shine. We never stop work. But we decided to back Hazare's agitation as it is for a just cause,” said Sopan Mare of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association. The 5,000 dabbawalas moved in a procession from Churchgate to Azad Maidan.

Asked if their customers were inconvenienced, Mare said, “They know we are supporting a just cause.” Patna : Around 5,000 lawyers under the banner of the Patna District Bar Association (PDBA) today boycotted the proceedings of the civil court here expressing their solidarity with Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption. The office-bearers of the Association held an emergency meeting here this morning and decided to stay away from work, Association's President J P Singh and Secretary Arvind Kumar Sinha said.

Meanwhile, Bihar unit of ‘India Against Corruption', the umbrella body of the citizen's movement fighting for a strong Lokpal, launched a wider contact programme in the state from today to create awareness among the people against corruption. Convener of Bihar unit of IAC Sanjay Dutta said that during the contact programme, the activists would apprise the people of the reasons leading to the arrest of Anna Hazare and his campaign for the Jan Lokpal bill.
The contact programme is being carried out after the successful demonstrations, padyatras, marches, fast and candlelight processions brought out by the IAC activists across the state.

“Our activists are visiting every village and town in the state as part of wider campaign expressing solidarity with the movement launched by Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare against corruption,” he said.

Bhopal : The support for Anna Hazare's “India Against Corruption” campaign has made deep inroads into the rural hinterland of Madhya Pradesh with people turning out in large numbers to express their solidarity towards the Gandhian's agitation for a strong Lokpal. “There is a widespread support for Hazare's campaign in rural areas which is being witnessed for the first time. People from villages are coming to towns for taking part in protests and marches,” Neemuch District Panchayat Chairman, Ishwar Singh Chouhan told PTI today.

“The best part is that people are coming out of their villages on their own in such large numbers for the first time to participate in protests being organised at smaller towns like Shujalpur and Kalapipal. There is a positive atmosphere in villages on the issue of Anna's campaign,” Shajapur District Panchayat Chairman, Leela Devi Parmar's husband said.

In big villages like Jamner and Raipur, locals have also taken out rallies in support of Anna's movement, he said adding rural folks are of the opinion that the government should have listened to the activist's demands.

In tribal Dindori district, some of the protestors dressed-up like Anna on August 15, to awaken people on the issues raised by him, specially corruption, Dindori District Panchayat President, Omprakash Dhurve said. Similar sentiments were at display in Damoh district where nearly 200 people staged a protest in support of Anna, Damoh District Panchayat Chairperson, Anita Thakur said. Today, villagers have organised a protest in support of the campaign at Tendukheda, where a large turnout is expected, she said.

However, Guna District Panchayat Chairman, Sumer Singh Garha said that during his day-long tour in the district he had not noticed any support for Anna's campaign except for a few children. Elders are not much involved. Garha also said that everybody knows that even after a strong Lokpal comes into existence, corruption is not going to wipe out from the society.

“There is a need to further improve the present system of governance in the country instead of creating an all new body,” he said adding that even in fully literate countries when corruption is not totally eliminated from the society then how it is possible in India in the present circumstances.

Bangalore: The Anna Hazare protest wave continued to sweep the city for the fourth day as Freedom Park once again became the epicentre of people's strength. 

Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, a member of the joint committee on drafting the Lokpal bill, participated in the protest as protesters, mostly students, shouted slogans “Anna Hazare Zindabad” and “Bharat Maata Ki Jai”. 

From early morning, people from all walks of life started to pour in at Freedom Park and many of them eagerly awaited Hazare's release from New Delhi's Tihar Jail.  Addressing protesters, Hegde said “I think Lokpal and Lokayukta institutions can help root out corruption.”

He also said corruption was born along with the birth of civilisation. “If we can check this, it will benefit not only people, but also the country,” he said. 

Taking a swipe at politicians, Hegde flayed them for accepting bribes unhesitatingly and yet initiated probe into the funding of those participating in Hazare's campaign.  Some protesters who were on dharna since last night began their day by performing yoga and others enjoyed their sleep. 

Venting out their anger against UPA government for arresting Hazare, several students said the government tried to hijack the movement by putting conditions on “civil society's indefinite fast.”

“We are tired of corruption. We feel Jan Lokpal is the only solution...,”they said.  

Vadodara:  A call for a bandh in the city in support of social activist Anna Hazare's fight against corruption today was well received.

Most of the shops and business establishments in Vadodara remaining closed for the day.

About 80 trading and business bodies, NGOS, social activists, advocates and members belonging to academic communities and medical fraternity have supported the call for bandh, claimed Paresh Shah, an activist. 

The bandh call was given by the city based India Against Corruption (IAC), a body formed by several activists, in support of Hazare's campaign against corruption and also to protest the non-appointment of a Lokayukta by the Gujarat government, IAC conveners Dilip Mehta and Hitesh Rawal said. 

Meanwhile, the Baroda Bar Association (BBA) has given a call to keep the courts closed for an indefinite period in support of Hazare's cause, BBA president Ranjit Rathod.  Ranchi : 

Three days after anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare stepped out of Delhi's Tihar Jail women today hit the streets in Ranchi while several shop-owners spontaneously downed shutters in the Jharkhand capital in support of Gandhian Anna Hazare. 

The women, mostly tribals, took out a huge rally under various banners, including Birsa Ulgulan Manch, covering main routes of the city, shouting pro-Anna and anti-corruption slogans.

“It was a spontaneous shutdown by business establishment not only in the city but also in the rural areas of Ranchi district like Ratu and Mandar,” said Sanjay Seth, the convenor of India Against Corruption, Jharkhand Chapter/Jharkhand Civil Society.

Most shops in the city were closed for two hours following the shutdown call by the ‘India Against Corruption' forum, he said.

The response sends out a message to the Centre that it should not delay in accepting Anna Hazare's demand for the Jan Lokpal Bill covering prime minister and higher judiciary,” he added.

He said, “The Congress' projection of Rahul Gandhi as the youth icon belied its claim after lakhs of youth across the country are rallying behind 74-year-old Anna Hazare against corruption.”

Students of Birsa Institute of Technology, Meshra, will organize an event “Support to Anna Hazare” at 5 pm through street plays, Arun Kumar Goutam, one of the organizers of the event said here.

The advocates of Dumka and Jamtara districts today boycotted courts and took out processions in support of Hazare at their respective places.  PTI