Night at Ramlila Ground: Food at 3 am, search for bombs!

Night at Ramlila Ground: Food at 3 am, search for bombs!

Hazare retired to a tent behind the dais at around 10 pm last night but scores of protesters, including volunteers, stayed back at the spacious grounds throughout the dark hours though intermittent showers made them run back to the tents.

Those gathered erupted into impromptu sloganeering and singing patriotic songs at regular intervals but as the night grew older the numbers became thin only to increase as the dawn arrived.

The ground was in bad shape as the rains spoilt the hard work of several municipal workers who had spent hours bringing it in form.

It was a sleepless night for policemen guarding the venue and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Vivek Kishore made regular visits to the venue to check the alertness of the men in uniform.

At around 3 am came the announcement that food has arrived at the venue for those gathered. The spread was -- daal, matar paneer, rice, poori and sweets -- and it came in big containers.

Some of the hungry policemen also joined over 300 Hazare supporters and were all praise for the "very good" food they were offered. "Food was really good," said a policeman who was not sure that Lokpal alone will help in eradicating corruption.

"Public come to us with money to help them get out of trouble created by themselves. I am not sure that Lokpal Bill will alone help. Corruption is in our blood. Change within ourselves," he said.

The media crew stationed at the Ramlila Maidan were also not without work as the protesters tried to capture their attention by performing for the cameras.

A TV cameraman objected to a CCTV camera being installed right infront of the dais as he felt it would hamper his view.

The cameraman entered into an argument with helpless volunteers who pleaded they could do little as it was the decision of the police to install a CCTV camera for security reasons.

As dawn approached, people started gathering and some tried to get their one-minute of fame on national TV. A man came dressed as Gandhi while another painted himself in the colours of the tricolour.

Then came supporters of Ramdev at the Maidan, the same place from where the yoga guru was bundled out on June six during his anti-corruption protest.

In between came policemen with a sniffer dog and hand-held machines to conduct searches for suspicious objects in the ground as well as in the tent where Hazare was staying.

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