New Delhi, Aug 23: Anna Hazare who is on indefinite strike at Ramlila Maidan has proved to be a Messiah in disguise for many homeless, who are assured of three day meals at his fasting venue.
“I pay Rs.300 every week to the police. Besides, they even take cigarettes and other stuff for free, saying it is because of them that I could sell these things. With Anna, now even I can raise my voice against corruption,” said 24-year-old Raghu who earns his living by selling chewing tobacco and cigarettes near a traffic signal in New Delhi.
“I worked as a peon at a government school in Burari but after my retirement, I never got my pension. The officials at the pension department asked for Rs.25, 000 to clear my files. My children disowned me terming me as a burden and I had no other choice but to sell toys at red lights at the age of 76, just to live,” said Madan Lal, who spends his night near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in South Delhi
But majority of homeless who were at Ramlila Maidan were there only to enjoy the luxuries like free food and a place to sleep.
“We don’t know what Lokpal bill is; neither am I concerned but I am here because I get good food to eat and a nice place to sit. That’s enough a reason for me to be here,” said Raju,a homeless who spent his time at Hanuman temple, Connaught Place.
“Many homeless have found a temporary home here in Ramlila Maidan as they don’t have to beg or work for a livelihood. It is the best place for them,” said Ashok Pandey, social activist.
“Beggars like me have never been helped by any politician or government, but because of this man (Hazare), many of us can have free food. We are raising slogans, wearing caps and singing songs, it’s enjoyable. The cause does not affect me. I am happy that I am enjoying myself here,” said Nagesh Nath, a physically challenged beggar.
“Sleeping here is much better than sleeping on the pavements. Moreover you get everything at your hand whether it is water or food. What best can be done?” said Amit, who usually spends his night sleeping near Sarai Kale Khan Station .
Ramlila Maidan has set up a kitchen- Anna Ki Rasoi being run by businessman, Anil Jain and his associates that has been supplying food for thousands of protestors.
People across the country have come forward and donated food supplies, utensils to keep up with the good work, while many have offered to cook.