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Lesser-known Annas also fast across the country

Thursday August 25, 2011 05:53:34 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Away from media glare, many people across India have been fasting in solidarity with social activist Anna Hazare, whose 10-day-old fast against corruption has caught global attention. The condition of some of the fasting people was said to be serious.

Right from Maharashtra in the west and Tamil Nadu in the south to Orissa in the east and Himachal Pradesh in the north, many ordinary men and women are fasting in support of Hazare's cause.

In Chennai, the condition of 20 people who have been fasting for the last 10 days for a strong Lokpal bill is rapidly deteriorating, said a release from India Against Corruption (IAC), spearheading the protest in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.

Among the protesters are 34-year-old Shiv Elango and the 81-year-old Appaindravel. The lone woman on hunger strike is S. Sujatha.

In Mumbai, India's financial capital, as many as 63 people, including seven women, started a hunger strike along with Hazare Aug 16.

But many of them had to drop out due to health reasons. "I was asked to end my fast after I lost 12 kg," said Naresh Thakur, India Against Corruption youth coordinator.

According to reports from the hill-state Himachal Pradesh, Desh Raj Sharma, 41, a former engineer of the state Public Works Department and Lakshmi Chand Thakur, 67, a former state government employee have been fasting for the past nine days in support of Hazare.

Thakur draws around a hundred visitors daily as he fasts on the historic Ridge of Shimla, seated under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Most stop there out of curiosity or to join his peaceful protest. Thakur had also fasted during Baba Ramdev's protest in Delhi in June.

Motivated by Thakur, four other people have formed a "Team Anna Shimla" and have launched an indefinite fast.

In Bangalore, 14 people, including two women, have been on fast since Aug 16 in support of Hazare at the Freedom Park, formerly central prison, the main centre of protests, according to Anand Yadwad of IAC.

He said every day around 30 people also observe a daylong fast at the Freedom Park. Hazare's associate and former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde joins them daily.

Reports from Orissa in the east said 15 people are on a hunger strike for the past 10 days in support of Hazare's demand.

The protesters include government officials, students, journalists, teachers, businessmen and retired judges.

In Delhi, marketing professional Abhijeet Gupta said he has not been to Anna's protest venue Ramila Maidan but "kept a fast on Aug 18-19 to show solidarity with him".

In Bhopal, the condition of four people fasting against corruption has deteriorated.

"When 74-year-old Hazare has not broken his fast, how can we," said Vipin Kothari, 39, a BSNL junior engineer who has taken 15 days' leave.

Kothari said his 16-year-old daughter Prakriti is worried and has not been able to sleep well since he went on fast.




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