Liquor flows on Anna's bed

Published: Aug 30, 2011, 08:08 IST | Anurag Jadli

A day after Hazare ended his fast at Ramlila Maidan in his fight against corruption, MiD DAY found a group of hooligans consuming alcohol on the podium at the protest site, which the Gandhian would sleep on

A day after Hazare ended his fast at Ramlila Maidan in his fight against corruption, MiD DAY found a group of hooligans consuming alcohol on the podium at the protest site, which the Gandhian would sleep on

Ramlia Maidan has undergone a sea change. The fervour is missing, so is the spirit. Well maybe not the latter, but it is a huge transformation nevertheless. A day after Anna Hazare concluded his hunger strike on the lokpal issue, MiD DAY found a group of hooligans consuming liquor on the same bed at Ramlila Maidan which Anna was using for resting purposes.   


Is the glass half empty? Grab from the sting video showing the
rowdies sitting and drinking on the podium used by Hazare. Pic/Mid Day


When this MiD DAY reporter spoke to these people, who were evidently having a good time, they started a discussion about the Anna movement and the 74-year-old Gandhian crusader. According to the rowdy bunch, the podium at the Ramlila Grounds was 'their permanent place' which they used for liquor parties. 


The ground lies deserted after Hazare's protest ended on Sunday

Drawback!
"Because of Anna's fast we did not have a place to drink in the past 13 days. Today we are a much happier lot as we have got our place back. Due to sheer urge we are having liquor during the day. We were coming here regularly to find out when Anna was going to leave. He may have enjoyed his 12-day fast, but it was a very sad time for us. We had to run helter-skelter to find a place to have a good time," said Mohammed Dilshad, a 27-year-old, who lives in the area.   

Incidentally, the miscreants were also using the pouches of water left over from Anna's movement. When this reporter tried to take their pictures, they threatened him of dire consequences. So we had to use a sting camera on them. In the video, three people can be seen having liquor together and talking in good humour about Anna's movement and the independence struggle.

Apart from having liquor, these miscreants were laying down on the bed which Anna would use to rest during his 12-day fast against corruption.

'Will take action'
When MiD DAY contacted Deep Mathur, spokesperson for Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), he said, "We will look into the matter and strict action will be taken against the culprits. We also take the help of Delhi police in this regard." MCD is responsible for the upkeep of Ramlila Maidan. Kumar Vishwas, a member of Team Anna said, "This is a matter, which should be taken care of by MCD and Delhi police. Whoever is drinking in a public place and indulging in anti-social activities like these should be penalised. The movement is not just about the evil of corruption, but also about social behaviour and commitment. Anna Hazare had spent nearly 13 days on that podium; it is a sacred place. People should know how to respect a national movement." 

Did you know?
The Ramilila Maidan was originally a large pond before 1930. It was filled up in the early 1930s so that annual Ramlila could be shifted here from the flood plains behind Red Fort. It quickly became a popular site for political meetings, with Gandhiji, Nehru, Sardar Patel and other top nationalist leaders addressing rallies here. A small pond is still there inside the Ramlila Grounds as a remembrance of its history.

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