A day before Anna Hazare begins his fourth fast of the year for a ‘strong Lokpal Bill,’ the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in the Bandra Kurla complex is all ready to receive the activist and his supporters.
Mr. Hazare’s supporters have already started to gather at the fortified venue, which will have 2,000 police constables, 200 sub-inspectors, six platoons of the State Reserve Police Force, three Quick Response Teams and two Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads. Members of India Against Corruption (IAC) have appealed to the people not to carry luggage or personal belongings to the venue for security reasons. No special exemptions have been extended to Team Anna for the protest.
Less than 24 hours before the fast, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Umeshchandra Sarangi held a meeting with top police officials, including the Director-General of Police and the Mumbai Police Commissioner, to review security issues.
Speeches to be monitored
“We will control access to the ground and see to it that the crowds do not become unmanageable,” Mr. Sarangi told reporters after the meeting. The State will monitor all speeches made from the dharna platform from Tuesday.
Some 10,000 sq. metres of the 30,000 sq. metre-ground will be reserved for parking. The ground will have six emergency exits, 16 fire extinguishers and six metal detectors. Ambulances and a fire engine will be on standby round-the-clock. IAC has already booked over 300 dormitories in Bandra and Kurla and many buses will run from the nearby railway stations to the venue on all three days.
On Tuesday, Mr. Hazare will begin his fast after garlanding Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Juhu and a rally of bikes will move with him towards the MMRDA ground. The 74-year-old will be on fast on December 27, 28 and 29.
That will be followed by a Jail Bharo Andolan on December 30 across the country.
Less than 24 hours before the fast, social networking sites are abuzz.
The number of registrations for Jailchalo has crossed 1,30,000, out of which over 11,000 are from the Mumbai region.