“We won’t let any publicity hounds misuse our village. Only Anna Hazare is allowed to go on a hunger strike here,” says Jaisingh Rao Mapari, sarpanch of Ralegan Siddhi village in the district of Ahmednagar.
This interesting fact was discovered by activist Krishnaraj Rao, who went on a fast unto death to protest against the government’s selection of a new state chief information commissioner.
In fact, the local panchayat of the village, which is home to Hazare, has passed a resolution stating that nobody but the social worker could go on a hunger strike in village. If anyone else wishes to do so, they have to get permissions from the village authorities.
When the panchayat learnt that Rao was on a hunger strike in their village, they lodged a complaint with the Parner police.
“I was taken to the local tehsildar by the police and asked why I had not taken the necessary permissions,” said Rao. “I did not know about the existence of such a resolution.”
Mapari said: “We didn’t even know that Rao was fasting here. He didn’t bother to inform the police or us. There was no way for us to make him aware of the resolution. We had to inform the police and evict him.”
When questioned about the existence of the resolution, Mapari said, “The resolution allows only Anna Hazare to fast here. This prevents publicity hounds from coming here and going on a hunger strike for their own shallow means.”
TK Vahile, inspector, Parner police station said: “Since there was already a resolution in place, we couldn’t have let Rao continue with his protest. In the past, several people have approached us for permissions to fast, but we refuse them because Hazare himself doesn’t permit the misuse of this holy place.”