Anna begins fast; attacks 'deaf and dumb' govt

Anna Hazare on Sunday returned to his favourite mode of protest - hunger strike - in Delhi after his flop show in Mumbai three months ago, this time protesting against the ‘deaf and dumb’ government which is ‘not doing anything’ to protect whistleblowers fighting corruption.

Hazare, after his usual visit to Rajghat before any such protest in Delhi, came to the capital's dharna hotspot Jantar Mantar at around 11 AM to loud cheers from tricolour-wielding anti-corruption supporters and chants of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'.

He is fasting to demand justice for slain IPS officer Narendra Kumar and a strong law to protect whistleblowers. Family members of some of the whistleblowers who were killed while fighting corruption, including that of IPS officer Narendra Kumar murdered allegedly by mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh, were also present.

Before starting his fast, Hazare said many people have sacrificed their lives while fighting corruption and the government has not conducted any probe despite some incidents, which happened three years ago.

"Their (whistleblowers') mothers, their children, their fathers, their wives are crying for justice. But this government has gone dumb and deaf. It is not listening to the cries of people. "There will be a big struggle. Then the government will listen. The government came up with MNREGA but these people were killed for trying to improve it," Hazare told reporters.

His return to staging protests comes after the Congress performed poorly in the recent Assembly polls.

This will be the first hunger strike undertaken by 74-year-old Hazare after he called off his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill in Mumbai last December owing to failing health and poor response.

This is the fifth time he is sitting on a fast in the past one year, of which four of them have been in Delhi.

Former Karnataka Lokayukta and Team Anna member Santosh Hegde, who had expressed some reservations with regard to the Team recently, was present along with other members like Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia.

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