From apathy to kindness, Chhatrasal detainees see it all | delhi | Hindustan Times
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From apathy to kindness, Chhatrasal detainees see it all

In 60 hours, they have seen it all. From the apathy of the policemen to their chivalry, and the generosity of the locals, the 47 people camping at the Chhatrasal Stadium have had experiences to last a lifetime. Mallica Joshi reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 18, 2011 00:47 IST
Mallica Joshi

In 60 hours, they have seen it all. From the apathy of the policemen to their chivalry, and the generosity of the locals, the 47 people camping at the Chhatrasal Stadium have had experiences to last a lifetime.

These 47 people (who have now refused to leave the stadium) were among 1,000 held from Jayaprakash Narayan Park on the night of August 15. They were starving on Tuesday night.

But as soon as word about their plight spread, locals from nearby areas sent so much food that they had plenty to share with the policemen on duty.

"The government did nothing for us; they captured us on Independence Day. But the support we have seen from people of the area is amazing," said Asha Shukla from Lucknow.

Hundreds of others have now joined them at the stadium. However, on Tuesday night, those detained went without food or water.

The policemen did not provide them with any either. "We were held by the collar and dragged when we wanted to go to the washroom. We didn't get any food or water. After some time, we told mediapersons (about our state). Once our plight was highlighted, food started pouring in," said Harsimran Singh, a software engineer from Jalandhar who arrived in the city on Monday.

On Wednesday, the stadium was being supplied potable water, biscuits, bananas and rice with roti and dal.

Businessmen, market associations, Gurudwaras and individuals were all pitching in and distributing food.

"These people are part of the biggest movement in living memory. It is my duty to do whatever I can to help them," said Sunil Kakkad, who brought water for the detainees.

After the initial scuffle, even policemen started behaving properly, the protesters said.

"Last night, there was no food at all. But after people's intervention, we had enough to share with policemen too. They are like our friends now," said Kumar Vishwas, a poet, leading the movement at Chhatrasal Stadium.

By Wednesday afternoon, when school students poured in, food was being distributed to everyone in sight. Street children from nearby areas stuffed their pockets with biscuits as did school students.

Sanitation worries
Though protesters were happy with most of the things,lack of proper sanitation facilities had them worried. "There are very few toilets here and even they are flooded and are stinking. Porta-cabins should be made available and regular cleaning must be done," said Murari Lal, who arrived from Latur to support Anna Hazare.