Mumbai's famous tiffin-lunchbox carriers, called dabbawalas, have announced they will take their first break in 120 years to lend their support to Indian activist Anna Hazare and his fight against political corruption, the Press Trust of India reports.
The move comes as hundreds gather outside Delhi's Tihar Jail Friday morning, waiting for Hazare to leave the jail and begin his hunger protest in Delhi's Ramlila Maidan.
Mumbai has about 5,000 dabbawalas, which are often seen carrying lunchboxes on the local trains and through busy, congested streets, as they cater to about 200,000 people a day, according to PTI. They have become a symbol, or perhaps cliche, of Mumbai's so-called organized chaos.
Sopan Mare of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association told reporters the dabbawalas will hold a rally in Mumbai from Churchgate to Azad Maidan Friday.
"In the last 120 years, we have not had the occasion to take a day off, come rain or shine. We never stop work. But we have decided to back Hazare's agitation," he said.
Protests and rallies in support of Hazare and his anti-corruption campaign continue to be held across India.
Hazare had planned on beginning his hunger protest in the park Tuesday, but authorities arrested him before he had the chance to enter the park, and they detained 1,300 people. The arrest of the activist, who has become the face of a social movement in India to demand an end to corruption among politicians, sparked protests across the country.
Authorities therefore did an about face and offered to free Hazare, but he refused to leave Tihar Jail without written consent to hold his park protest.
Hazare's aides and Indian authorities made a deal that he can hold a public protest at the park for no more than 15 days. Authorities agreed to not put a limit on the number of people who can attend. Hazare reportedly agreed to the deal and is expected to leave jail Friday.