Protest over, will the Freedom Park zeal last?

So, what’s next? Deccan Herald caught up with some students who spoke of their future plan of action on the graft war front.

“We will get back to our classes and other routine. But we are proud we are among the voices that supported a good cause,” said Jahnavi Deshmukh, a marketing student. While a majority of the students may have come to the Freedom Park with sincere intentions, many used the occasion as an excuse to bunk classes.

“I have been at the Freedom Park since Monday last; and I see hundreds of students coming here to click some pictures of themselves and to hog a bit of the limelight in the media,” said a volunteer of India Against Corruption (IAC).

On Monday, 14 school and college students, who had been actively participating in rallies and processions for two weeks, were busy with their classes. Only three among the lot plan to continue to use the weekends effectively to spread the message of the anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare. Others simply said they were waiting for their “leader” to direct their next step.

Deccan Herald also spoke with a few parents whose children were part of the anti-corruption movement. Almost all of them (9 out of 11) had not given their consent to their children to participate in the campaign.

Shubha Ladha, whose daughter is a degree student in a city college, says: “Of course, we do need a movement against corruption. But students can always use the weekends or after- college hours to voice their opinion. The Freedom Park has turned into a marketplace.”

IAC volunteer Rohan Bhakta says a pause in the vigour and movement is now inevitable. However, the stage is always set and ready for people to protest. “There is a feeling among the masses that they have done something right and for a good cause. So, they are ever willing to back a movement against corruption,” he says.

Sindhu, a science student, has been at the venue almost everyday since the movement began. While she feels the “victory fervour” was uncalled-for, she says she is waiting for the next call from Anna. “The (Lokpal) bill has not been passed yet. So, to say we have won is far from the truth. I will always be ready to support the movement when needed,” she says.

As workers dismantled the stage and shaamiyana at Freedom Park that saw more than 20,000 Bangaloreans descend on it every single day for two weeks, on Monday the Park looked like it had lost its soul. Will the zeal to fight corruption continue, or will Bangaloreans give up the ghost?

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