Thousands of Delhiites and a few Bollywood celebrities joined Anna Hazare at Ramlila Ground in central Delhi as his indefinite fast entered its seventh day on Monday.
Since it was Janmashtami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, many Delhiites had turned up at the venue to observe their fast along with Hazare. The protest ground was once again bursting at the seams with a massive attendance in support of the 73-year-old anti-graft activist.
Singer Kailash Kher crooned a few lines in support of the movement. “I had written this song when Anna had first launched his movement,” Kher said to the cheering crowd.
Actor Kabir Bedi arrived with actress and daughter Pooja Bedi and rooted for the Jan Lokpal Bill. “Why isn’t the government listening to the civil society?” he said.
While on Sunday the Delhi police had expected around 50,000 people at the site, its Special Branch on Monday said the footfall had touched 70,000.
“We won’t be able to join Anna again before the weekend because schools and offices are reopening from tomorrow after the long weekend, so we dedicated this Janmashtami holiday to the cause,” said Preet Vihar resident Anant Kumar, a Defence Ministry official who had come with his wife and daughter.
Priti Kumar, a BA final year student, and her friend Pankaj Sen, an engineer with an MNC, were recording the protest on their mobile phones. Sen said he’s taken a week’s leave from office and was among those detained at Chhatrasal stadium.
“We had uploaded the videos on Facebook. I have been doing this daily and have motivated more than 10 friends to come here,” Sen added.
Meanwhile, security personnel manning the gates had a tough time managing the crowd. Even though adequate number of security personnel was positioned in and around the Ramlila Ground, checking each and every person became almost impossible.
To avoid chaos and overcrowding at the gates, the police started random checking of bags and other belongings of the supporters.