Pune, Sept 10: Gandhian Anna Hazare has been shifted from the now famous Yadavbaba temple in the village, to a hostel for security reasons.
As large number of curious visitors flock daily to ‘Yadavbaba' temple, which became a home and refuge for Anna Hazare, the anti-corruption crusader has been quietly shifted to a hostel.
When Anna returned to Ralegan Siddhi 27 years ago, finishing his service in the army, he made this temple his refuge.
“Yadavbaba was a saint, who came to Ralegan from the pilgrim centre of Alandi, situated on the banks of Indrayani, more than a century ago and took Samadhi here. The temple built to cherish his memory, became today's famous landmark, seen on television many times,” says a villager.
He recalled that when Anna returned to the village after being discharged from a Gurgaon hospital on conclusion of his historic 12 day fast in support of a strong Lokpal bill last month, he first went to the Yadavbaba temple to pay his respects.
But things have changed dramatically after the Ramlila agitation for the villagers here.
Their beloved Anna, who is the ‘presiding deity' of Ralegan after ‘Yadavbaba', is now shifted to Padmavati temple trust hostel, for security reasons.
Six armed security men keep vigil in front of a grilled gate, from where, Hazare emerges three times a day to interact with the crowds gathered outside including the visitors from all over the country.
“He is the same Anna who calls himself “ Mandiratla Anna” (The one who lives in Yadavbaba temple). But changes have become inevitable with the government security apparatus becoming real and visible, affecting his accessibility,” says an old man, who fondly reminisced the days when Anna lived in the Yadavbaba temple, mixing freely with men, women and children.
As if aware of the feelings of his folks, Hazare has requested the state government and home minister R R Patil not to go in for the proposed Z category security that can inhibit his interaction with the people.
Nevertheless, the new accommodation of Hazare—Padmavati Devi trust hostel—looks an ideal spot for the visitors, who flock the place, which has a spacious compound surrounded by trees and shrubbery. A small devi temple stands in the middle.
Outside the compound, some people are seen selling CDs containing a ‘Powada' ( ballad) narrating the deeds of Anna Hazare, set to the tune of folk music of Maharashtra. Eateries in the village, too, are doing brisk business with the increasing flow of outsiders.
Currently, it has become customary for Hazare to make three appearances in a day as he speaks to the gathered supporters using microphones of television channels that beam his talk across the nation, even as the security men clad in plain clothes stand behind the man.
In the early morning, however, he keeps to himself, when he takes a walk at a brisk pace alone in the compound under the eyes of the bodyguards working in shift duties. PTI