Thousands fast in Maharashtra in Ramdev’s support


Mumbai : Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas, thousands of farmers and farm-widows of eastern Maharashtra and scores of NGOs and common men observed a fast Saturday in support of yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike in Delhi against corruption and black money.

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“All the dabbawalas extended their moral support to Baba Ramdev, but could not physically participate in the hunger strike owing to their job commitments,” Nutan Dabbawala Trust president Raghunath Medge said.

Volunteers of India Against Corruption and several other Mumbai NGOs also fasted for the day at south Mumbai’s historic Azad Maidan undeterred by the heavy pre-monsoon showers.

IAC’s Mumbai co-ordinator Praful Vora said the mood was enthusiastic among the 40-odd sitting on an indefinite hunger strike and another 1,000 people who went on a day’s hunger strike Saturday in support of Baba Ramdev.

“It is no longer Baba Ramdev or Anna Hazare’s mission – it’s the people’s crusade against corruption and everybody is directly or indirectly participating,” Vora told IANS.

Farm widows and farmers of the suicide-hit districts of Vidarbha in eastern Maharashtra have also joined the fast, both in New Delhi’s Ramlila Ground and in different parts of the region.

“While 500 farmers and 300 farmers’ widows are joining Baba Ramdev in New Delhi, thousands more will join the crusade against corruption in different districts of Vidarbha,” Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishor Tiwari said.

Several farmers and widows have also started a relay hunger strike outside village gram panchayats in 116 villages in the Vidarbha region, Tiwari said.

Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike comes barely two months after social activist Anna Hazare went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding a strong Lokpal bill.