New Delhi : With Anna Hazare’s fast at Ramlila Maidan here entering its eighth day Tuesday, hundreds of foreign and Indian journalists are spending hours at the sprawling grounds, reporting every single development of his protest for a stronger anti-corruption bill.
Demanding a Jan Lokpal bill that brings the prime minister, the higher judiciary and the conduct of MPs inside parliament within the ambit of a Lokpal (ombudsman), Hazare has been fasting since Aug 16. Initially arrested, he has continued with his fast at Ramlila ground since Friday.
The protesters may be returning to their homes after shouting slogans for Hazare but journalists are ever-present at the ground – puffing cigarettes, sipping tea and nibbling snacks – while covering the 24×7 television spectacle.
“Since Anna began his fast the entire unit is on its toes …the coverage on Anna has turned out to be really taxing. I have not managed to have proper sleep since the last three days,” said a journalist from a leading news channel.
While the vicinity of Ramlila Maidan is packed with Hazare’s supporters, the roads are dotted with OB vans that channels use for outdoor coverage.
“I have just come from my house and will be here till 12 midnight. After that my colleague will be here till 8 a.m.,” said a television journalist on condition of anonymity.
“Since the arrest of Anna, it’s become really tough. God knows when this will end. And the biggest problem is relieving yourself when nature calls. The portable toilets are really dirty,” said a female journalist.
US based freelance journalist William Malony has been in India since the past three weeks. He is making a documentary on the entire episode braving the scorching heat and sporadic rains in the city.
“It’s actually amazing to see the crowd gathering in such large numbers. Though it’s quite hot but I won’t mind capturing this historic moment,” Malony said.
Michale Nauman from Germany’s ARD news channel said: “I know that you people have a problem but it does not mean that you will go on a hunger strike. In Germany, people put pressure on government by assembling in large numbers but they don’t go for hunger strikes.”