Thousands agitators, including school and college students courted arrest as part of the Jail Bharo agitation in protest against the arrest of Gandhian and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare.
Bhandara observed a total bandh to protest Hazare’s arrest on Wednesday.
Prominent among those who courted arrest include: former Lok Sabha member, Banwarilal Purohit, BJP legislators, Devendra Fadnavis, Krishna Khopade and city mayor Archana Dehankar. Over 11,000 people were detained, including 330 women in Nagpur city alone. They were released immediately, police informed.
Activists from several organizations, including India Against Corruption, staged a day-long dharna near RBI square. A big TV screen was kept there so that activists could get an update on the happenings in Delhi and elsewhere in the country. “Anna carry on with your struggle, we are with you,” crowds chanted.
The protesters rendered patriotic songs and shouted slogans in support of Hazare. They also condemned union minister Kapil Sibal for his alleged derogatory remarks against Hazare.
Even those who are not staunch supporters of civil society team condemned Hazare’s arrest and vowed to stand by him. “I am not an Anna supporter. But the manner in which he was detained was illegal and undemocratic,” said Mohan Kothekar, a social worker, who participated in the dharna near RBI square on Wednesday.
The BJP legislator Nana Padole led a march in Bhandara where a total bandh was observed. No reports of any untoward incident were reported during the bandh.
Prahar, a social organization called a Vidarbha bandh on Thursday in support of Hazare.
Massive rallies in support of Hazare were taken out in Chandrapur, Gondia, Amravati, Yavatmal, Wardha, Buldhana, Akola and several other areas of Vidarbha region on Wednesday. Many people took leave from work in several cities, particularly in Nagpur to show their solidarity with the anti-corruption movement of Hazare.
A large number of the protesters were school and college students, dressed in jeans and T-shirts and passionate in their support. Sakshi Bora, an eight-old girl was the youngest supporter of Anna in Chandrapur who joined the agitation at the collectorate.