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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Glory gone fast, Ramlila Maidan wears deserted look

Karn Pratap Singh and Rajat Arora, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 29, 2011
First Published: 00:32 IST(29/8/2011) | Last Updated: 00:34 IST(29/8/2011)

The Ramlila Maidan, which remained the focus point of the protest led by 74 -year-old Anna Hazare for the past 12 days, wore a deserted look after the supporters of the anti-graft crusader left the venue on Sunday.

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Silence descended on the ground, where crowds cheered for the activist, loudspeakers blared and tricolours fluttered day and night as Anna addressed the gathering almost everyday.

The tents, which gave shelter to thousands of supporters for more than ten days, were razed in ten minutes. The loudspeakers which kept the area alive during heavy rains and scorching heat were removed as they got booked for another function. The dias which hosted Hazare was soon occupied by the kids from neighbouring areas.

The mass kitchen, popularly known as Anna ki rasoi, which was set up to serve foods to the protesters, was empty. “We served more than 50,000 supporters everyday. That’s a gigantic task in itself,” said Ram Sharma, a volunteer from east Delhi. The medical camp, where a team of 80 doctors treated more than 14,000 Hazare’s supporters at the venue, also shut down on Sunday.

The barricades were removed by police and trucks loaded with metal detector doors were seen on the road adjacent to the historic ground. The ill-maintained muddy ground that had turned into one of the biggest broadcasting studio for TV news channels silently bore the brunt of the agitation, making space for water bottles, wrappers of biscuits and other edibles.

The vendors who cashed in on the protest for 12 days quietly packed their stuff and left the venue. “From tomorrow I'll be selling balloons at traffic signals. I have made good money out here. I wish it would have continued for at least a month,” said Radhe Shyam, who made his fortune by selling tricolours and Anna T-shirts at the protest venue.


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