As Anna Hazare’s supporters continue to gather at the Ramlila Maidan, others who labelled the movement as ‘unconstitutional’ assembled at India Gate to protest against the anti-graft crusader on Wednesday.
The protesters, led by Udit Raj, ran down Anna’s movement and termed the Jan Lokpal Bill as against the basic tenets of democracy.
Some of the protesters, however, claimed they were participating because local touts had promised them money and free transport for marching from India Gate to Jantar Mantar.
“Some of the touts in our localities paid us in batches. We were paid Rs100 to Rs200 to be a part of this. We are in desperate need of the money, so it didn’t matter whether the protest was pro or anti Anna,” said Harish Sharma, who had been brought in from Haryana.
The agitators claimed that the entire march had been organised by detractors of Anna, and touts had been paid in lump sum to ‘buy’ protesters.
“Some of our local leaders got packets of money by people having political affiliations. A part was this was used to pay some of us. We were told to shout slogans against Anna,” said Rakesh Gupta, a protester.
However, organisers denied forcing people to join the movement.”Everyone gathered here has come of their own free will and no one has been forced in any way. These are rumours and not to be taken seriously,” said Om Hari, one of the organisers.
Some people who had gathered at the venue claimed that the organisers of the anti-Anna movement had misled them. “We were told this was a movement to support Anna Hazare, which is why we came,” said Om Shankar, from Ghaziabad.