I won’t give up even if I die: Hazare

New Delhi: Addressing thousands at the Ramlila Maidan Wednesday, a smiling but frail Anna Hazare said he will not give up his fast till the government meets all his demands for a strong anti-graft bill, even if it costs him his life.

“Till the government does not accept all my demands, I will not give up,” said Hazare adding, “Even if I die, I don’t care, but I’ll fight till my life.”

On the ninth day of his fast – a team of doctors has advised Anna to take drips and not to speak much – the social activist was full of energy as he addressed the gathering. He said instead he was fine as he is getting energy from the people supporting the cause.

“On the ninth day of fast, my health is totally fine. Only my weight has reduced by six kg. There is nothing to worry about…I am getting energy from you,” the activist told people.

Expressing his concern over the corruption which he said has grown even in villages, 74-year-old Hazare said, “It has become very difficult for the poor to live today just because of the corruption which has now spread its wings wide even in villages.”

He added that for every small thing, poor people are forced to pay money to government officials, in order to get their work done.

“No work is done if money (bribe) is not given. How will they live,” he asked.

In addition, he said the government was corrupt and did not want to pass a strong Lokpal bill.

“Yesterday, three people from our side went to talk to the government, but even today they don’t have the intention of ending corruption,” Hazare said.

Terming this as a ‘chain of corruption’, the activist said with a strong Lokpal bill being passed, the problem can be eradicated.

“If the Lokpal bill is passed, any complaint will be investigated and Lokpal will have powers enough to punish the culprit and even terminate their official duties,” he said.

Hazare further said the nation which was once known as the Golden Bird has now become a Himalayan mountain of debt.

Empathizing with the problems of poor people, the activist said he has laid his life for the service of the poor in the country to whom nobody listens.

“Janta ki seva bhagwan ki puja hai (For me, serving the poor is like worshiping god),” Hazare said, adding he is sitting here also because he could not bear the pain the poor are going through.

Saying the government version of the Lokpal bill will not eradicate corruption at the state level, he said, “The Lokpal bill that you made was just for the central government. How will you eradicate the corruption at the state level? Like Lokpal, Lokayukta should be made at the state level and it should have all powers as that of Lokpal.”

Hazare also spoke about a man setting himself ablaze in his support, saying such acts would not help their fight.

“People should not be disappointed. The fight against corruption is very long and this is just a beginning. We have to be strong enough and committing such acts will not eradicate corruption. It hurts me,” said Hazare.