They have taken Hazare’s battle to the virtual world | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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They have taken Hazare’s battle to the virtual world

mumbai Updated: Aug 18, 2011 01:22 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

In a narrow space below the stage set up at Azad Maidan, right next to the sound system, sit two youngsters glued to their laptops, with a creaking fan helping them fight the heat and the humidity.

Kevin Gala and Smit Malkan are busy sending out text messages to lakhs of Mumbaiites and fighting a virtual battle for a stronger lokpal bill.

Like the sound system that motivates the mass of protesters gathered there, Gala and Malkan are two of the motley group of 10 people who keep people posted through updates on the IAC website, on their Facebook and Twitter pages and through text messages.

This group of 10 volunteers, mostly youngsters, has kept the protests going through a mix of organisational skills and social media know-how.

“All the people whom I have always admired in my life were all part of this movement. I was shocked when the first meeting happened in January and only 300 people attended it, I thought 30,000 would. That’s when I decided I would spread the word and get more people on board,” said Piyush Bhatia, 41, who runs English-speaking classes.

Bhatia handles the Facebook and Twitter pages, along with media inquiries.

Gala, an IT engineer by profession, said he felt the urge to “contribute”. “I saw the movement unfolding and IT being my strongpoint, I felt I should help them using my strengths. That’s when I started working on the online part of the campaign,” he explained.

Under Gala, IAC, which had one website for the country, got its own Mumbai website. It also took the virtual lokpal battle to twitter. “We have some 1,000-odd followers on Twitter. We get a tremendous response from Twitter,” he said.