Anna supporters throng outside Tihar

New Delhi: After a night of candlelight vigil and sloganeering, thousands of people gathered outside the Tihar Jail here to support activist Anna Hazare who has declined to move out of the prison until his demands are met.

“The message is loud and clear – the citizens of this country are proving that the country is independent. This is the message from the movement,” said social activist Medha Patkar.

Former police officer Kiran Bedi also addressed the people outside the jail.

Government officials, students, commuters and bystanders — everyone was supporting Hazare.

The area was abuzz with people shouting slogans, waving the tricolour and donning caps and clothes that read ‘Me Anna Hazare — India Against Corruption’.

“You can’t call it a democracy if a 74-year-old is not allowed to raise his voice against corruption. This is dictatorship,” said an enthusiastic Jolly Batra, a resident of Rajouri Garden who has been outside the jail since Tuesday evening.

Patriotic songs were also sung as the crowd spread on to the streets.

Hundreds gathered at the Chhatrasal Stadium in north Delhi.

“This is it. Anna is people’s voice and I am not going back until he is released on his own terms,” said Amit Pathak, a student who had come all the way from Haryana.

Earlier in the day, Hazare’s associate Manish Sisodia came out of the jail and said: “Anna said that I will not go till the issue of location for fast is sorted out.”

“If I come out, the same problem will be there again where the fast should take place,” Sisodia said quoting Hazare.

People refused to budge from the Jail Road near Tihar in west Delhi throughout Tuesday night in solidarity with Hazare who was jailed ahead of his fast for an effective anti-corruption law.

Hazare was jailed Tuesday. The Delhi Police action led to protests across the country. The government changed its mind later in the evening and released Hazare but he refused to come out until he was allowed to carry on his hunger strike without any conditions. (IANS)