As visitors climbed trees, high-tension poles and even ladders on Friday morning to catch a glimpse of Anna Hazare coming out of Tihar Jail, they received unexpected help from local residents. Doors were thrown open in welcome and the seekers ushered up to terraces of houses that had Tricolours pinned on them like a mark of affiliation.
The build-up to Anna’s release had started by 7am, and reached fever pitch after 10am when Kiran Bedi, one of the campaign leaders, announced Anna’s programme for the day outside the jail.
“I was standing at the left corner of the gate. Around 11 am, there was a surge from behind and I fell down. Two boys took me through the crowd and spoke to a flat owner who gladly let me in. When Annaji came out, I felt like he was waving at me, as I was standing on the second floor. I am grateful to the local people who gave me a chance to see him,” said Sudhir Ranjan Vohra, a retired police officer from Gurgaon.
A courier office and a local school also allowed supporters to get a bird’s eye view from their buildings. “This is too big an event to miss. Everyone is here to meet our guest, Anna. It was our duty to help them in every way possible,” said Shiv Kumar, manager of the public school opposite Tihar Jail.
The residents also did not seem to mind the litter – rotting food packets, water pouches and even banana peels – in the area.
“There are just too many people visiting this place. It is impossible to clean up everything,” said a resident of Dblock .
Another resident, Lalit Madani, said it was “electrifying” to see Tihar in a whole new light.
“We are proud that we could lend support to the cause. I have videographed various moods of the protest and will save them for posterity,” he said.