Anna’s second freedom fight

Taking on the government, civil rights activist Anna Hazare today went on a day-long fast at Rajghat, declaring that his agitation against corruption was the ‘second freedom struggle’ and threatened another hunger strike from August 16 if Lokpal Bill is not passed by then.

He accused the government of putting ‘hurdles’ in the drafting of Lokpal Bill and trying to defame the civil society members of the joint panel, such as Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Santosh Hegde and Arvind Kejriwal through a ‘discreet’ campaign.

Hazare, joined by his associates and a few thousand supporters, went on the hunger strike to protest the police crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters during their agitation against corruption here on Saturday night, which he termed as a "blot on humanity" and attempt to "stifle democracy".

After paying floral tributes at Mahatma Gandhi’s samadhi, he reached the protest site at around 10.20 am to a rousing welcome from supporters who assembled there amid heavy police presence.

"Mahatma Gandhi fought for our freedom but we are yet to achieve real independence. The second struggle of independence has started. We are ready to sacrifice our lives but will not buckle under pressure," Hazare said.

Mounting pressure on the government to quickly enact a law to curb corruption, he said he will launch an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar here from August 16 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed by then.

Hazare’s indefinite fast in April had evoked nationwide support forcing the government to set up a joint committee of civil society members and ministers to draft the bill.(PTI)

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