Those in attendance at central Delhi’s Ramlila Ground, including police officers, were on edge for several nail-biting minutes as Arvind Kejriwal spoke of Team Anna’s latest ‘betrayal at the hands of the government’ on Wednesday night.
Around 11.30pm, as Kejriwal apprised thousands of Anna supporters of ‘the changed mood of (this) government’ and rumours of Hazare’s impending early morning detention, a horde of men jumped barricades in an admitted effort to reach the stage and form a human chain around the Gandhian.
“We will not let what happened to Baba (Ramdev) happen to Annaji,” shouted Rajesh Sharma, 35, from Mewat, among the first to jump to Hazare’s ‘rescue’.
Despite prominent Team Anna member Kiran Bedi’s assurances about the respect for ‘lawful procedure that senior (Delhi) police officers have’, volunteers slept on each step of the stage and patrolled the Maidan till 4am, just in case.
“How dare they talk to them (Team Anna) with such impunity? They will have to go through us to even lay on hand on him,” said Virendra Kumar, 30, leading a group of 15-odd people, each carrying a tricolour in their hands, as they patrolled the outer perimeter of the Ramlila Ground.