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When schoolchildren turned up to support a 'fakir'

Friday April 08, 2011 04:10:51 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Schoolchildren turned up, so did people from the far corners of India. Hundreds more joined the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare Friday, prompting the veteran Gandhian to thank them, particularly the youngsters.

"We have come to support Anna because we want a corruption free future," said Prashant, 13, of the Janak International School, Pitampura, who was at Jantar mantar where Hazare is on a fast-unto-death.

Ankit, aged 16, said: "We want an end to corruption in our country."

Hazare entered his fourth day of indefinite fast in his fight for a separate Jan Lokpal Bill that will take into account the views and suggestions of civil society and common people.

In the sea of hundreds of supporters, around 500 were schoolchildren in uniforms, holding placards and shouting slogans.

Moved by the support, Hazare said, "Yesterday it was very heartening to see so many young schoolchildren come and support me and the cause. I want to thank you.

"When I was young like you, I wanted do a lot for my nation but I did not have the strength, I did not have any money. I stay in a 10X10 ft room and have just enough to eat. Despite this, people have supported a fakir like me," he said.

The government has refused two of the activists' major demands.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Friday said the central government had turned down the activists' demand for notification of the committee to draft the anti-corruption bill and for electing former Indian chief justice Justice J.S. Verma or former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde as chairman of the panel.

To this Hazare said, "People will teach them a lesson" and appealed to his supporters for a 'Jail Bharo Andolan' April 12, asking them to court arrest.

Saathi Nath Choudhary, 55, one of the many supporters who has come from Patna to Delhi to support Hazare, said: "If Anna says 'jail bharo', then I will go to jail. We need to do everything possible to eliminate corruption from the entire county. If there is a call for going behind bars, I am ready for this."

Riki Sehgal, 52, said: "Going to jail is not an issue for us. Our fight is against corruption. If there is a call to go to jail, then we will go for it."

Lawyer Madan Singh, 39, who hails from Burari, came to show support for Anna Hazare instead of going to court for work.

"A few of my advocate friends have come here to support Hazare's cause. We have to eliminate all corrupt people, including bureaucrats, politicians and industrialists who are hand in glove with politicians," he said.

Sudhesh Kumar, a former Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) sub-inspector, came from Jammu to support the cause.

"For the last 23 years I am fighting against corruption. I left my job for this. I am ready to go to jail," Kumar said.




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