Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anna Hazare ends his fast on 13th day

Dear Comrades,

Anna Hazare ended his 12-day fastSunday morning before tens of thousands of cheering supporters at Ramlila Maidan by sipping a glass of coconut water with honey offered to him by two girls.

The nation, particularly the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, heaved a collective sigh of relief at the resolution of a major national cris as the 74-year-old activist ended his fast at around 10.20 a.m. He began his fast Aug 16 morning and completed 288 hours of fasting Sunday.

1:45 pm: At Ramlila, a mini India watched Anna break fast
Hours before Anna Hazare broke a 13-day hunger strike that shook the nation, all roads led to the Ramlila ground. And as he sipped coconut water, tens of thousands gave him a standing, boisterous ovation that would make any politician go green with envy.

It was a mini India out there. A saffron robed swami. A tall Nihang Sikh in bright blue. Mahatma Gandhi lookalikes. Men with Rajasthani head gears. Retired employees. The jobless. Traders. Vendors. Bus drivers. Farmers.

Like in any movement, the middle class did dominate.

1:30 pm: Team Anna reaches out to Dalits, remembers Ambedkar
Facing criticism from Dalit groups for not having representation from backward and minority classes, Team Anna Sunday remembered B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of Indian constitution, and said they respect the statute.

Activist Anna Hazare broke his 13-day-long fast after drinking a mixture of coconut water and honey offered to him by a Dalit and a Muslim girl.

'The condition of farmers is bad. We have to give them justice. Ambedkar put all this in the constitution but it not being implemented in the parliament,' Hazare told the cheering crowds at Ramlila Maidan.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal turned down allegations that their movement was against the constitution. 'Some Dalits have said that we are against constitution. I want to tell that we respect the constitution and Ambedkar-ji,' he said.

1:15 pm: Anna, his team thank media
The media got a big thank you from Anna Hazare and his team Sunday for their support to the anti-corruption campaign with the 24X7 coverage of the protest.

The 74-year-old activist who broke his fast on the 13th day said: 'I want to thank the media for spreading our message to all my countrymen for the past 12 days...this is a success for them as well.'

Arvind Kejriwal, a member of Team Anna, was also effusive in his thanks to the media.

'We want to thank the media for working around the clock with their cameras, in heat and rain. This was not just their job, they worked 24 hours a day and were a part of the movement too,' Kejriwal said.

Kiran Bedi, another member of Team Anna, described the media as the backbone of the movement.

'Real backbone of this movement was the passionate media. They were willing to forgo their advertisement revenues and allow themselves to become the people's voice,' Bedi tweeted.

1:00 pm: Anna Hazare: A fasting activist turns a national icon
He drove a truck for the army during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, but when Anna Hazare broke his fast on day 13 Sunday after the Indian parliament agreed to his three demands for a stronger anti-graft legislation the school dropout had won for the people a war against the powerful establishment.

It was a civic-government standoff, broadcast live to the nation by the incessantly chattering 24x7 TV news channels, and at the centre of this spectacular reality show was a frail and fasting 74-year-old man who became a veritable nightmare for the ruling political class, but a hero of the urban middle class reeling under pervasive corruption and an unresponsive system. Read more

12:45 pm: Volunteers, backbone of the movement: Kejriwal
Describing them as the backbone of the agitation, Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal Sunday had a special word of praise for the over 300 volunteers who worked round the clock for 13 days to the keep the movement against corruption going.

Minutes before Hazare broke his fast Sunday morning, RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said: 'The backbone of the protest is our volunteers who were insulted, scolded, treated in a bad way but still they worked efficiently for hours.'

'On days when I used to sleep here and sometimes get up at 3 a.m., I used to see several volunteers hushing up at the stairs near the dais. When I used to ask them to sleep, they would say - 'No, we want to protect our Anna', that was their spirit,' he said.

12:30 PM: The men and the woman behind Team Anna
Anna Hazare has become a powerful brand for people-driven change. But a brand is not built in isolation. It took, amongst others, the father-son due of a former law minister and an activist lawyer, a former police officer and an income tax officer-turned RTI activist to power the 24x7 Anna Hazare show that fired the nation's imagination like no other. These five people were part of his 'inner circle' of advisers.

12:20 PM: Anna Hazare confident of building 'a corruption-free society'
Anna Hazare today thanked the people of the country and the media for extending their support to his campaign against corruption. Addressing thousands of supporters after breaking his 12-day fast at New Delhi's Ram Lila Ground, Hazare said he wants the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill for a corruption-free society.

"Thanks to all of you. This is your victory. This also the victory of media, thanks to media for awakening people across India. Thanks to the members of civil society. We have shown a new way to the world that anything can be achieved through 'ahimsa'," Hazare said.

"I'm thankful to the youth power for their massive support. This has established that 'Jan Sansad' is more powerful than 'Sansad'. Now, our belief is firm that we can build a corruption-free society. Whatever changes we want, would be done in accordance with the Constitution," he added.

12:10 PM: Anna Hazare wants introduction of "Right to Recall" to change political system
Anna Hazare said that the people of the country must have the "Right to Recall" to change the country's political system.

Addressing thousands of supporters after breaking his 12-day fast at New Delhi's Ram Lila Ground, Hazare said: "Corruption is due to the non-decentralization of power. We have to strengthen our 'Gram Sabha' and change the present election system. We need the 'Right to Recall'." The anti-corruption crusader had told supporters on Saturday evening that he would the end his campaign as the Congress-led UPA government had agreed to his demands to legislate tougher laws against rampant graft.

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced in the Lok Sabha that the civil society's version of the Lokpal Bill would now rest with the Standing Committee. The Jan Lokpal Bill, the anti-graft legislation that Hazare is agitating for, is seen as a weapon to root out corruption and nepotism from the government machinery and in public life.

12:00 noon: Anna Hazare taken to Gurgaon hospital for medical check-up
Anna Hazare, who ended his 12-day long hunger strike today, has been taken to Gurgaon's Medanta hospital for a medical check-up.

Hazare has reportedly lost eight kilograms since he began the campaign for a strong Lokpal Bill on August 16. A medical team from Medanta hospital has been monitoring the 74-year-old's condition closely. full story

11:30 am: PM's letter to Anna Hazare
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Anna Hazare after Parliament on Saturday passed a resolution agreeing to the three demands put forth by anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare. Vilasrao Deshmukh personally went to Ramlila Maidan to hand over the letter and a copy of the resolution to the Team Anna.

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