Moment of reckoning: when Anna stepped out of Tihar | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Moment of reckoning: when Anna stepped out of Tihar

delhi Updated: Aug 19, 2011 16:28 IST
Aaron Pereira
Aaron Pereira
Hindustan Times
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The fourth day of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption protest saw chaos amidst cheer by thousands of Anna supporters gathered to welcome their leader outside Tihar Jail in New Delhi. For the police, the situation was critical, as they had to ensure full security to the 74-year-old activist.

The road outside the main gate of Tihar Jail saw media and Anna supporters wait patiently for the anti-corruption crusader to come out and greet his supporters.

At 10am, Kiran Bedi, former IPS officer and a member of Team Anna, addressed the gathering and informed the media that Anna would be out at sharp 11am to carry on his fast at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. The crowd gathered in support of Anna cheered at the announcement and waited for the now 'Mahatma' to come out of the prison gates.

But at 11am, another announcement was made that Anna would not come out till Hazare's associate and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal reached Tihar.

Finally, at around 12pm, Anna Hazare, wearing a spotless white kurta dhoti and his now much famous topi, walked out of the main gate of Tihar Jail escorted by a large posse of armed policemen with a broad smile brought out by the support gathered outside. "The second freedom struggle has begun. We must not give up. We have to fight till corruption is wiped off from this country," he said.

Supporters climbed on to electricity poles, trees and cars to get a glimpse of Anna Hazare as he addressed the media at the gate.

Media gathered at the gate went wild. Camera men toppled, microphones tied on to branches of trees, which acted as boom-microphones, broke as Anna walked out of the gate. Fighting to get the best video footage and stills of probably India's famous and most followed anti-corruption activist, media persons had a battle amongst themselves.

The weather gods, however, tried to play spoil-sport. But they failed to deter Anna's supporters. Anna was put on to an open truck and went on a massive procession to Ramlila Maidan, passing through Rajghat.

The police along the way had a tough time managing the crowd gathered at the venue and were perhaps a little unprepared to handle the situation. Supporters complained of pick-pocketers and molesters in the crowd.

Anna Hazare is on an indefinite fast for 14 days at Ramlila Maidan. He had been arrested and put in judicial custody at Tihar Jail. Despite the magistrate issuing him release orders, he refused to come out stating that till the government lifts section 144 imposed in JP Park and allowed him to go on a fast without any conditions, he would not leave.

The Delhi Police on 18th August lifted all the conditions and granted Anna permission to fast for 14 days at Ramlila Maidan.