Celebrations after days of protests as Hazare ends fast

The festivities which began last night after Parliamnet passed a resolution agreeing in-principle on Hazare's three demands on Lokpal issue, reached a crescendo when the Gandhian accepted a glass of coconut water from a Dalit and a Muslim girl -- Simran and Ikrah -- at 10:20 AM, breaking his 288 hours of fast that began on August 16 .

As Hazare started his address at the Maidan in Delhi, people who had started descending on the historic ground since early this morning, jostled with each other to get a glimpse of the 74-year-old.

"This is a triumph of people. It is a triumph of our democracy. People have come out in large numbers as everybody is affected by corruption," said Riti Borah, a 28-year-old management professional.

Victory flags or 'Gudhi' were put up in almost every house in Hazare's village in Maharashtra as people, who assembled outside the Yadavbaba temple where he lives, said they were eagerly waiting for their "hero" to return.

"We are also eagerly awaiting his return. He is our hero and we want to give him a hero's welcome," said Hazare's close aide Datta Awari.

Braving heavy rains, joyous people converged at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai, many sporting the now ubiquitous 'Mein bhi Anna (I am Anna)' Gandhi caps.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said those who have taken to Naxalism and terrorism should learn from Hazare's anti-corruption campaign as it has reinforced confidence in the strength of non-violence which is "in the DNA of Indians".

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the ending of fast by Hazare was a victory for people's power and showed the resilience of parliamentary democracy.

In Jaipur and other parts of Rajathan, Hazare supporters applied 'gulal' on each other and took out a rally in cars and motorcycles.

Rallies were held in various parts of Mumbai to celebrate the victory. To express solidarity with Hazare, 17 people had been fasting at Azad Maidan .

"I have no words to express my happiness. It is a victory of common man," 64-year-old cardiac surgeon Dr Ratna Magotia, who has been fasting for the last 12 days, told PTI.
India Against Corruption (IAC) which spearheaded the agitation said they were elated over the victory.

"It is time for celebrations...as we have won in our fight against corruption," Mannan Gandhi, a member of IAC said.

Hazare supporters poured onto the streets in Kolkata distributing sweets and singing the national song.

"Ending of fast by Anna Hazare is a good decision. We are happy with his demand for an effective Lokpal Bill, which in fact was also our long-standing demand," West Bengal CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose said.

In Orissa, Hazare supporters took out processions, burst crackers, danced to drums and took out motor cycle rallies in different places of the state including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Rourkela and Balasore.

In Sikkim, Yong Tshering Lepcha, a farmer who lost 14 kg during his week-long fast in support of Hazare, too ended his hunger strike.

"Truth has prevailed and this is how people like Anna Hazare have inspired even a farmer like me. He has touched lakhs of people and I am just one of them. I could have died for the cause," he said.

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