After a dismal show at Mumbai's MMRDA grounds in December last year, Team Anna was back at the spot in national Capital on Sunday from where it all began. And to cheer up the day for them, the crowds were back to support Anna and his team.
Team Anna touched an emotional chord by showcasing families of whistleblowers who fell prey to the systemic corruption and it drew huge crowds at Jantar Mantar, signaling that the India Against Corruption (IAC)-led movement was still alive.
The supporters at the day-long ‘upavas’ (not called hunger strike this time) by anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, fighting for a strong Jan Lokpal, swelled specially in the second half peaking after 4 pm when large number of people gathered to listen to Hazare.
After a visit to Rajghat, Hazare was welcomed amidst loud sloganeering a little after 11 am when he walked on to the stage with his close aides. The day was dedicated by IAC campaigners to as many as 25 whistleblowers who lost life over the last decade. Photos of 19 of them adorned the backdrop on the stage, where families of several of these victims were called in to share their experiences.
After two minutes of silence for the whistleblower victims, a short film on victims was shown. "People ask how whistleblowers are related to Jan Lokpal? Several of these 25 people would have been alive today, if Jan Lokpal Bill would have been enacted as it provides security to the whistleblowers," said Arvind Kejriwal, a key Team Anna member.
Raj Kumar, an uncle of IPS Narendra Kumar who fell prey to the mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh earlier this month, two daughters of Andhra Pradesh's Sola Ranga Rao, who died fighting corruption in the local body at his home district and Mahidhar Mishra, brother of RTI activist Shashidhar Mishra from Begusarai in Bihar, who exposed scams in welfare schemes through RTI pleas narrated their experience. "But the fight against corruption will go on," was the common refrain.
The gathering comprised mostly people from Delhi, some from NCR and few from outside. Rajiv Chopra, a businessman from Rohtak said, "People of India has a short memory. This time, it was more important to show strength. I felt it is my dharma to come here."
Amid loud cheers, Hazare exhorted people to be ready to hit the streets again in August if FIRs were not registered against corrupt ministers by then.