As droves of people flocked to Ramlila Maidan to voice their support for Anna Hazare, lack of water and sanitation facilities at the venue tested the resolve of quite a few supporters.
With the protests probably stretching over more than two weeks, protesters hope that arrangements will be made soon for clean drinking water and medicines to alleviate the suffering of the people flocking to support the movement.
According to the agreement reached between Team Anna and police, the organisers have to arrange for drinking water, medical aid and mobile toilets.
A protester at the venue said, “There is no water and toilets are in a deplorable condition. People, especially women, who have come from outside Delhi are suffering terribly here.”
Scarcity of water and sanitation facilities at the venue have created trouble for the Gandhian’s supporters, with one fainting and being rushed to a hospital.
One Vishnu Dutt Sharma from Uttar Pradesh who is fasting in the city collapsed in the morning and was rushed to LNJP hospital where he is being treated. “He did not have food or water for three days. He fell unconscious,” an agitator said.
A doctor at the venue said the basic problem was scarcity and the quality of water the protesters were drinking.
“There is no proper arrangement for water supply and people are not carrying bottled water. So they are facing problems,” he said.
To provide relief, a group of doctors from Indian Medical Association have set up camp at the venue to ensure round-the-clock emergency medical care free of cost to the supporters.
Dr AP Singh of IMA said, “We have volunteered to provide free medical services because we support the cause of Hazare and his team. Corruption affects everybody, including us and we feel that if we can contribute in some way to this movement, we would have done our part.”
Dr Sachin Bhargav, another doctor, said, “we are providing medicines free of cost, and paying for them from our own pockets, because we believe in Anna’s cause, and sympathise with the poor people who have come here from villages all over India.”
Armed with medicines for common ailments like dehydration, gastro-enteritis and fever, the doctors have treated over 400 patients since the protest began at Ramlila Maidan, and referred around 10 patients to nearby hospitals.
The doctors have put their own practise at stake to volunteer at the Maidan.
“The government is not providing proper facilities because it wants the people to leave as soon as possible. Despite this, people won’t leave, and we won’t rest till the government agrees to Hazare’s demands,” Amina Khan, a nurse, alleged.
The doctors are also playing a part in ensuring that the crowd doesn’t go out of control. Singh said, “If any supporter becomes too aggressive or starts hyperventilating, volunteers bring him to us, and we give them medicines to calm them down, thus preventing any untoward incident.”