The agitation for the Jan Lokpal Bill continued in Mumbai for the third day with more people coming out in its support. At Azad Maidan on Thursday, several young faces were visible in the crowd that was vociferous in its support for the Anna Hazare-led campaign.
“All of us are looking for better and clean government. This Bill is our hope,” said Manesh Ganjawala, an architect at the protest.“This cause is relevant to all of us. I learned about this a week ago and visited the India Against Corruption (IAC) website. The answer to the loopholes in governance is the Jan Lokpal Bill,” said Shivanee Srivastava, a Peddar Road resident.
The online support for the agitation is growing fast. In just one day, 490 members joined the IAC Mumbai Facebook page.
“Since yesterday, the environment has changed. Many people are joining in as they learn about the cause from the media or online,” said Mamta Pandya, Goregoan resident.
Even traders and business associations extended their support to the campaign. “Around 50 business and traders’ associations extended their support. The trader community is most affected by the corrupt system; we have to bribe officials to get work done. This, in turn, affects the consumer,” said Viren Shah, of the Confederation of All India Traders, Maharashtra.
On Thursday, IAC volunteers again took to the streets to spread awareness about the Bill. Pamphlets, IAC badges and white ribbons were distributed across South Mumbai. “We request people to wear the ribbon until the Bill is passed. IAC will distribute ribbons at all railway stations and religious places,” said Ruben Mascarenhas, IAC youth coordinator. IAC said it wouldn’t let up. “We plead to citizens to be at their nearest railway station with candles at 7pm on Friday. Similar agitations will be held every day,” said Mayank Gandhi, IAC Mumbai spokesperson.
Other organisations rallied around Hazare’s campaign. Fifty slum-dwellers associated with the National Alliance of People’s Movements led by Medha Patkar will fast on Saturday.
Government officials too came forward to point out corruption. “We do not get the benefits we are supposed due to corruption in our departments. We demand the suspension of corrupt officials or else we will protest too,” said Sharad Kuwaiskar, of the Mumbai Fire Services Union.
Inputs by Pooja Domadia