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Friday, July 30, 2021

They sat on a fast too,but missed the limelight

They were not sitting on the dais with thousands of people cheering them on to break their hunger fast.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
August 29, 2011 1:48:36 am

They were not sitting on the dais with thousands of people cheering them on to break their hunger fast. They did not have two children lovingly feeding them coconut water and honey,with an applauding core committee standing in the background. They were simply given a symbolic sweet by the volunteers backstage.

Meet the people who ended their hunger strike along with Anna Hazare on Sunday,but went largely unnoticed.

For Neeraj Babu Verma (24) from Rajasthan,joining Anna has only been a continuation of his own fight against corruption. “I joined him because I found a medium through which I could effect change. I believe the Jan Lokpal Bill can bring about a practical transformation in society,” Verma said.

Verma said that in 2007,he had to pay Rs 1,000 as bribe while filing a dowry case in his village,Kedliganj. “Even after that,nothing happened to the case and my sister continued to suffer at the hands of her in-laws because they had paid off the police. Since then,I have been making rounds of the police stations and courts but nothing has ever happened,” he said.

Rajkumar Sharma (37),was was another one of the people fasting. Sharma had come to Delhi from Jammu on August 18.

“I have been fasting for 10 days now,and I have no plans of going home. Maybe I will continue to protest at Jantar Mantar if the police allow me to sit there. I have been fighting against corruption for 10 years and now I will continue my protest in the Capital,” Sharma said.

Sharma said he refused to bribe local authorities in Keranguda for setting up a boundary wall in his house. “I warned them that I would report them to higher-ups. Since then,they have been acting hostile,slapping false cases on me and my family. Since then I have been making the rounds of the courts for no fault of mine,” Sharma said. The matter closest to his heart in the Jan Lokpal Bill is greater accountability for the judiciary.

He said,“The Jan Lokpal Bill aims at making judges more accountable. If this was the case earlier,I would not have had to spend so much money and time on court proceedings.”

There were 30 others,along with them,who refused food and liquids other than water for days at a stretch. Some felt that their contribution had gone unnoticed.

“They kept announcing in the initial days of the agitation that we were fasting to inspire the crowds. But today,Arvind Kejriwal had to be reminded at the end of his thank you speech about us. But it doesn’t matter,really,” said another person from the group.

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