Three days after anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare stepped out of Delhi's Tihar Jail women on Friday hit the streets in Ranchi while several shop-owners spontaneously downed shutters in the Jharkhand capital in support of Gandhian Anna Hazare.

The women, mostly tribals, took out a huge rally under various banners, including Birsa Ulgulan Manch, covering main routes of the city, shouting pro-Anna and anti-corruption slogans.

"It was a spontaneous shutdown by business establishment not only in the city but also in the rural areas of Ranchi district like Ratu and Mandar," said Sanjay Seth, the convenor of India Against Corruption, Jharkhand Chapter/Jharkhand Civil Society.

Most shops in the city were closed for two hours following the shutdown call by the 'India Against Corruption' forum, he said. "The response sends out a message to the Centre that it should not delay in accepting Anna Hazare's demand for the Jan Lokpal Bill covering prime minister and higher judiciary," he added.

Students of Birsa Institute of Technology, Meshra, will organize an event "Support to Anna Hazare" at 5 pm through street plays, Arun Kumar Goutam, one of the organizers of the event said here.

The advocates of Dumka and Jamtara districts on Friday boycotted courts and took out processions in support of Hazare at their respective places.

Akal Takht, parties in Punjab voice support for Hazare

Akal Takht, the temporal seat of Sikhs, on Friday voiced support to the campaign against corruption launched by Anna Hazare and his team and urged the Prime Minister to give it due consideration.

Support also poured in from political parties in Punjab as ruling Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and People's Party of Punjab led by his bete noire Manpreet Singh Badal expressed solidarity with Hazare's campaign for a strong Lokpall Bill.

"We support the movement of Hazare and ask the Prime Minister also to do the same," Akal Takht head Gurbachan Singh said.

Terming the arrest of Hazare as "murder of democracy and democratic values", SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "We will not allow Congress to undermine the freedom of the people of the country."

The estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Manpreet, said, "People's Party of Punjab fully supports the protest by Hazare.... We too will hold district level demonstrations in support of the Gandhian."


Protests enters fourth day in Karnataka

The Anna Hazare protest wave continued to sweep the city for the fourth day as Freedom Park once again became the epicentre of people's strength.

Former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde, a member of the joint committee on drafting the Lokpal bill, participated in the protest as protesters, mostly students, shouted slogans "Anna Hazare Zindabad" and "Bharat Maata Ki Jai".

From early morning, people from all walks of life started to pour in at Freedom Park and many of them eagerly awaited Hazare's release from New Delhi's Tihar Jail.

Addressing protesters, Hegde said "I think Lokpal and Lokayukta institutions can help root out corruption."

He also said corruption was born along with the birth of civilisation. "If we can check this, it will benefit not only people, but also the country," he said.

Some protesters who were on dharna since last night began their day by performing yoga and others enjoyed their sleep.

Shutdown in Vadodara to support Hazare's campaign

A call for a bandh in the city in support of social activist Anna Hazare's fight against corruption on Friday was well received.

Most of the shops and business establishments in Vadodara remaining closed for the day.

About 80 trading and business bodies, NGOS, social activists, advocates and members belonging to academic communities and medical fraternity have supported the call for bandh, claimed Paresh Shah, an activist.

The bandh call was given by the city based India Against Corruption (IAC), a body formed by several activists, in support of Hazare's campaign against corruption and also to protest the non-appointment of a Lokayukta by the Gujarat government, IAC conveners Dilip Mehta and Hitesh Rawal said.

Meanwhile, the Baroda Bar Association (BBA) has given a call to keep the courts closed for an indefinite period in support of Hazare's cause, BBA president Ranjit Rathod.

Tihar officials relieved, praise Anna

Officials at the Tihar Jail were a relieved lot on Friday as a fasting Anna Hazare finally left the premises after four days. But they were full of praise for the Gandhian 'guest'. A senior jail official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Hazare was well-behaved and disciplined during his stay at the prison.

'He was not a prisoner but a guest who was staying here, so we had to take care of him,' said the official.

Jail officials said the problem began for them as hundreds of Hazare supporters gathered at all gates of the prison, effectively blocking the complex.

Lakhs join Hazare online

Mass support for social activist Anna Hazare in real world has had a cascading effect on the virtual world too as a popular online game, which supports the Gandhian's anti-corruption crusade, is recording an unprecedented rise in the number of players.'

Yes Prime Minister', developed by Ibibo.com offers its players to become India's Prime Minister virtually and support Hazare's anti-corruption movement while punishing corrupt minister and bureaucrats.

'The game was launched in April 2011 and it clashed with Hazare's agitation at Jantar Mantar back then. So, it became an instant hit and over one lakh players registered in just five days,' said Rahul Razdan, president (products & operations), Ibibo.

'The agitation has generated similar buzz this time as more than 50,000 new users have joined in the last few days,' he added.

According to Ibibo.com, the game currently has around 3.5 lakh registered players and the numbers are increasing.

Taking a dig at infamous politicians accused or convicted in corruption cases, players can punish 'Seela Dikhsit', 'Yedduappa', 'Kalmaddy', 'Rajah', 'Shared Power' and the recent addition of 'Kanhee Mozi' and others.

'The theme of the game is to build your India by taking control of various ministries. If projects are left unguarded, corruption creeps in and your online friends can help you by volunteering as vigilance commissioners,' said Razdan.

(JPN/ Agencies)