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Anna to tour India, warns of more struggles

delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2011 13:51 IST

IANS
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Gandhian leader Anna Hazare said Saturday after breaking his 97-hour hunger strike that he would tour the entire country to campaign against corruption and warned of more struggles ahead.

Saluting the media and fellow Indians for what he described as a people's victory, the activist, in his early 70s, said he was ending his fast because the government had agreed to almost all his demands.

"I have broken the fast today because the government has fulfilled our demand by issuing this order," he said, triumphantly flashing the gazette notifying the formation of a 10-member panel that would draft a stringent Lokpal Bill to combat corruption in high places.

"I will go to various states and meet people everywhere," he said in a 15-minute address in Hindi, addressing thousands of men and women from the rostrum near the Jantar Mantar monument where he had been on hunger strike since Tuesday.

"But we have a long way to go," he warned. "We will have to struggle whenever it is necessary. We will have to put pressure on the government to make governance transparent.

"This is the start of another independence struggle, there is a very long way ahead."

Hazare was repeatedly cheered by the crowd that had been pouring into the site since early in the day to witness the school dropout-turned-activist end his widely acclaimed protest.

"I will keep touring the country," he said. "We have to unite the people of India."

He said the most significant aspect of his campaign was the display of people's unity all over India, breaching the usual barriers of communities and religions.

"All brothers and sisters came together for the country. We showed the world that we are one. There is no religion, no community. For the country we are one."

This was immediately greeted with delirious cries of "Inquilab Zindabad!" and "Vande Mataram!"

Hazare also demanded meaningful electoral reforms.

He said people should have right to recall corrupt corporators. "We will have to think of this if we have to stop corruption... The election system has to change."

Although most people in the crowd compared him to Mahatma Gandhi, Hazare himself did not take the Mahatma's name.

Instead he referred to revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, who were hanged by the British. He said the country was indebted to them.