A ‘raft’ protest to fight graft

Published: 26th July 2012 12:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2012 12:13 PM   |  A+A-

While Team Anna launched another round of sit-in protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday, miles away in Kottayam, a group of India Against Corruption (IAC) activists found a unique way to support the anti-corruption crusader’s movement.

The activists of the Kottayam district committee of the IAC launched an indefinite fast on a raft that was tied to a pillar in the Meenachil River at Illikkal near Kottayam.

Interestingly, the strike was launched near the old Illikkal Bridge, where the K G George’s famous film Panchavadippalam, depicting the corruption plaguing a panchayath, was shot.

The members of the IAC team, led by C R Rajendra, who is the Kottayam district secretary of the movement, tied the raft between the remaining pillars of the decayed bridge. 60-year-old Rajendra has been supporting Anna’s campaign since its inception, with an added twist each time. Last August, when Hazare had launched the movement, Rajendra held a ‘relay protest’, sitting atop a coconut tree.

At the time, the tree-top campaign had grabbed eyeballs and instant response from fellow-villagers, who joined him by sitting near the tree.

This time too, the offbeat way of protest invited extraordinary attention from the villagers and they surrounded the banks of the river. “I adopted this new way to zero-in on the growing concerns of the society regarding corruption. People should come forth against it. We have organised this stir in support of Team Anna. And we will call it off only when Anna Hazare ends his protest,” Rajendra said. Apart from Rajendra, two other IAC members, Chunakkara Shaji and Vallakkunnam Sasidharan Nair, also participated in the fast. Two other members, Rajesh Bharat and Renimol stayed at the spot, in support of the protest.

“Our demand is that the Lokpal Bill should be passed by Parliament at the earliest. A total of 15 Union ministers and 163 MPs are involved in corruption cases. A special investigation team, chaired by Supreme Court judges, should be constituted to investigate the charges against them,” Rajesh Bharat said.

The members are taking turns at fasting, and from Thursday, it will be observed from 9.30 am to 6 pm.


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