With the success of social activist Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death against corruption, Jantar Mantar — the Mecca of democratic protest by people across the country fighting for various issues — has turned into a favourite venue for voices against corruption.
Less than a week after Hazare broke his fast, several groups are protesting at Jantar Mantar against corruption.
A few of them are on fast-unto-death.
IITians against corruption
“It is a matter of our institute’s survival. That’s why we sacrificed the placement session and are here to support Arya sir,” said Dheeraj Yadav, a final-year management student of Aravali Institute of Management, Jodhpur.
With a relay hunger strike, Yadav and a bunch of his classmates are supporting Varun Arya, 51, and his wife Anita, 46, who have started their fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar.
Arya, an alumnus of IIT, Delhi and IIM, Ahmedabad, quit his cozy MNC job to start a management school more than a decade ago. When his trust could not get land from the Rajasthan government, it bought 236 bigha (about 94.4 acres) land at Kaparda, 45km from Jodhpur in 2005.
“However, even today, the government has not agreed to convert it into non-agriculture land. After we started the indefinite fast on Wednesday, the government conveyed its decision to allow us partial conversion, with the rider that we give to the government almost 101 bigha. Since they couldn’t extract bribe in cash from us, they now want it in kind (land),” Arya told reporters.
A petition signed by more than 2,000 alumni of IITs and IIMs was sent to the Rajasthan chief minister but to no avail.
Fast against Jan Lokpal bill
Metres away from where Hazare and his supporters fought for the Jan Lokpal bill, Keshav Dev Mourya, national president of the Mahan Dal, and his supporters are on a fast-unto-death against the bill.
Mourya called Hazare a ‘pet of Manuwadis’ (followers of Manu, believed to be a proponent of hierarchical caste system) and his supporters as representative of a feudal mindset.
“There is an attempt to bring in rajtantra (feudal/royal rule) in the garb of loktantra (democracy). The Jan Lokpal bill is an eyewash, as after 63 years of democracy, India would see a dictator in the form of Jan Lokpal with infinite powers,” Mourya said.
Taking a break from shouting the slogan ‘Anna Hazare Murdabad’, another activist, Naresh Kumar said, “Why should the elite dominate everything? On Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, we find there is no representation of the oppressed even in the Jan Lokpal bill.”