Day 5: Action shifts from maidan to trains
On day five of the agitation backing Anna Hazare's demand for the Jan Lokpal bill, volunteers took their campaign onto Mumbai's lifeline.mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2011 01:18 IST
On day five of the agitation backing Anna Hazare's demand for the Jan Lokpal bill, volunteers took their campaign onto Mumbai's lifeline.
Around 60 volunteers boarded different coaches of the 10.57am Borivli-Churchgate local train and distributed pamphlets illustrating the difference between government's version of the Lokpal bill and the Jan Lokpal bill. “We were aware of the Jan Lokpal bill, but didn't understand its intricacies. Today, we got a chance to clarify our doubts,” said Anik Gadia, a Malad resident.
While the organisers, India Against Corruption (IAC), received good response in the local train, the turnout at Azad Maidan was not as high as expected given that it was a weekend. Mumbaiites probably chose to use the long weekend to take rest at home or travel out of town.
Ruben Mascarenhas, IAC Youth co-ordinator said, “South Mumbai, by itself, has a low residential population. Most people who come here are office goers or college students. It's natural that the attendance will dip over the weekend. Besides, the number of localised rallies, too, has increased.”
About the campaign on board the train, IAC volunteer Mannan Gandhi said, “We are calling the train 'Lokpal Express'. Our aim is to educate people about the Bill. We formed groups of 4-5 people, who entered every compartment of the train.”
When contacted, Chief PRO of Western Railway, Sharat Chandrayan said, “People with tickets can board the train and if they are not obstructing other passengers, or not creating any law and order situation, no one can stop them from travelling. Today, there was no law and order situation. The volunteers decorated trains with flags, which is not illegal either.”
At Azad Maidan, the protest continued with speeches, slogans and patriotic songs. Supporters took on law minister Salman Khurshid for his statement on the agitation. “Khurshid claimed that fasting is in fashion these days. We challenge him to fast at least for five hours, if not five days,” said Kishor Ghoyal, a visually-challenged protester.