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Anna Hazare against corruption

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Anna Hazare wants the Lokpal Bill to be enacted into law. In this video he makes two points: first that the Lokpal be independent of the government and be empowered to take action on charges of corruption against any politician or bureaucrat, and second, that the Lokpal be empowered to recover funds from corrupt individuals.

In addition he asks for an independent body to draft such a bill, half of the members from political parties, and half from civil society.

NDTV quotes in full Kisan Baburao (Anna) Hazare’s letter to the prime minister:

Dear Dr. Singh,

I have started my indefinite fast at Jantar mantar. I had invited you also to fast and pray for a corruption free India on 5th April. Though I did not receive any reply from you, I am hopeful that you must have done that.

I am pained to read and hear about government’s reaction to my fast. I consider it my duty to clarify the points raised on behalf of Congress party and the government by their spokespersons, as they appear in media:

1. It is being alleged that I am being instigated by some people to sit on this fast. Dear Manmohan Singh ji, this is an insult to my sense of wisdom and intelligence. I am not a kid that I could be “instigated” into going on an indefinite fast. I am a fiercely independent person. I take advice from many friends and critics, but do what my conscience directs me to do. It is my experience that when cornered, governments resort to such malicious slandering. I am pained that the government, rather than addressing the issue of corruption, is trying to allege conspiracies, when there are none.

2. It is being said that I have shown impatience. Dear Prime Minister, so far, every government has shown complete insensitivity and lack of political commitment to tackling corruption. 62 years after independence, we still do not have independent and effective anti‐corruption systems. Very weak versions of Lokpal Bill were presented in Parliament eight times in last 42 years. Even these weak versions were not passed by Parliament. This means, left to themselves, the politicians and bureaucrats will never pass any law which subjects them to any kind of objective scrutiny. At a time, when the country has witnessed scams of unprecedented scale, the impatience of the entire country is justified. And we call upon you, not to look for precedents, but show courage to take unprecedented steps.

3. It is being said that I have shown impatience when the government has “initiated” the process. I would urge you to tell me – exactly what processes are underway?

a. You say that your Group of Ministers are drafting the anti‐corruption law. Many of the members of this Group of Ministers have such a shady past that if effective anticorruption systems had been in place, some of them would have been behind bars. Do you want us to have faith in a process in which some of the most corrupt people of this country should draft the anti‐corruption law?

b. NAC sub‐committee has discussed Jan Lokpal Bill. But what does that actually mean? Will the government accept the recommendations of NAC sub‐committee? So far, UPA II has shown complete contempt for even the most innocuous issues raised by NAC.

c. I and many other friends from India Against Corruption movement wrote several letters to you after 1st December. I also sent you a copy of Jan Lokpal Bill on 1st December. We did not get any response. It is only when I wrote to you that I will sit on an indefinite fast, we were promptly invited for discussions on 7th March. I wonder whether the government responds only to threats of indefinite fast. Before that, representatives of India Against Corruption had been meeting various Ministers seeking their support for the Jan Lokpal Bill. They met [the minister of Law and Justice] Mr [Veerappa] Moily also and personally handed over copy of Jan Lokpal to him. A few hours before our meeting with you, we received a phone call from Mr Moily’s office that the copy of Jan Lokpal Bill had been misplaced by his office and they wanted another copy. This is the seriousness with which the government has dealt with Jan Lokpal Bill.

d. Dear Dr Manmohan Singh ji, if you were in my place, would you have any faith in the aforesaid processes? Kindly let me know if there are any other processes underway. If you still feel that I am impatient, I am happy that I am because the whole nation is feeling impatient at the lack of credible efforts from your government against corruption.

4. What are we asking for? We are not saying that you should accept the Bill drafted by us. But kindly create a credible platform for discussions – a joint committee with at least half members from civil society suggested by us. Your spokespersons are misleading the nation when they say that there is no precedent for setting up a joint committee. At least seven laws in Maharashtra were drafted by similar joint committees and presented in Maharashtra Assembly. Maharashtra RTI Act, one of the best laws of those times, was drafted by a joint committee. Even at the centre, when 25,000 tribals came to Delhi two years ago, your government set up a joint committee on land issues within 48 hours. You yourself are the Chairperson of that committee.

This means that the government is willing to set up joint committees on all other issues, but not on corruption. Why?

5. It is being said that the government wants to talk to us and we are not talking to them. This is utterly false. Tell me a single meeting when you called us and we did not come. We strongly believe in dialogue and engagement. Kindly do not mislead the country by saying that we are shunning dialogue.

We request you to take some credible steps at stemming corruption. Kindly stop finding faults and suspecting conspiracies in our movement. There are none. Even if there were, it does not absolve you of your responsibilities to stop corruption.

With warm regards,
K B Hazare

The movement is beginning to snowball. If you are tired of waking up every morning to a new scam, join in.

April 6, 2011

On the second day of Hazare’s fast, CNN-IBN reports:

Social activist Anna Hazare’s fast unto death dharna has entered the third day on Thursday, and there is already one big casualty among political bigwigs with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar quitting fro the GoM on corruption.

However, Hazare still demands Pawar be removed as minister too.

The UPA government is likely to send one of its troubleshooters to negotiate with Hazare. Sources said that at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister spoke to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, who said the government should reach out but not give in to demands completely.

Spontaneous protests on Wednesday stopped politicians trying to reach out to Anna Hazare. The message is clear – there is no place for politicians in a people’s darbar against corruption.

Law Minister Veerappa Moily who is also reframing the Lokpal bill has promised to incorporate some suggestions.

Some of the language of this report may be the reporter’s, but if they come from politicians, then they are enough to raise one’s hackles. “Give in to demands”! “Incorporate some suggestions”! It would be good if the cabinet of ministers reads the constitution. Sovereignty lies not with the cabinet, its advisors, older cabinets, but with the people of India.

April 7, 2011

The day after Sonia Gandhi reportedly urged the government to talk to Mr. Hazare, there were some positive development. The Hindu reports:

Anna Hazare’s fast-unto-death entered the fourth day on Friday even as anti-corruption activists waited for a communication from the government over holding another round of talks to iron out differences over notifying formation of a joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill.

Social activist Swami Agnivesh told PTI, “We are waiting for a communication from the government side.On Thursday, it was informally agreed that we will met around 9 a.m. We have not got any formal communication”.

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had said that two sides would be meeting on Friday morning for the third round of talks.

“The two sides had agreed on almost all issues but there is no agreement on two issues, that is issuing an official notification to form the committee and making Mr. Hazare the chairman of the committee. So we need more time and we will meet again tomorrow and see we can evolve a procedure with which we can move ahead,” he had said on Thursday.

Three of the five demands raised by Mr. Hazare and his supporters have been met by the government. These are formation of a joint committee with five members each from government and civil society, immediate setting up of the panel and bringing the Bill in Monsoon session.

The question that is being asked over and over again, and reported in the media every minute is the following: why would a government not want to curb corruption?

April 8, 2011

TOI reports:

Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption is believed to have won the battle on Friday with the government relenting to the demands made by the veteran social activist, TV reports said.

However, Hazare on Friday night announced that his fast has not ended and further added that he will take a final decision on Saturday and that the deadlock over the anti-corruption bill is likely to end after that.

Hazare’s announcement came following his emissaries’ (Arvind Kejriwal and Swami Agnivesh) meeting with Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal, law minister Veerappa Moily and minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid. The government is believed to have relented to Anna Hazare’s demands.

According to reports, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to be the chairman and Shanti Bhushan to be the co-chairman of the proposed joint committee to draft an effective Lokpal Bill. The draft of the Lokpal Bill will reportedly be formally notified.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

April 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

6 Responses

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  1. […] reports on the predictable impasse in the joint committee set up to draft a Lokpal Bill following the fast by Anna Hazare: The drafting of the Lokpal bill by a joint government-civil society committee virtually hit a […]

  2. […] all-party meeting on the contentious issue of the Lokpal [1, 2, 3] seems to have ended with the politically correct consensus on broad issues, but predictable […]

  3. true… not sure who said this, but it still rings true: Corruption has its own motivations, and one has to thoroughly study that phenomenon and eliminate the foundations that allow corruption to exist.

    Shyam

    July 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  4. […] most people agree with the idea that there should be a check on corruption in the government, there is wide disagreement with the draft bill initially presented by Hazare and […]

  5. A word for the government too. Just what exactly are you thinking when you are trying to shove an impotent law down people’s throats? And what makes you feel that threatening, crushing or insulting Anna will take away people’s need to rid India of corruption? Anna did not create an anti-corruption sentiment, he merely tapped into it. Crushing Anna will not take away that sentiment. It will just make it fester more. Right now, the movement is still controlled. By going back on your word, displaying arrogance and not listening to the people, you are risking the country’s descent into chaos. Be careful. Accountability is much easier to deal with than anarchy. Fix the Lokpal Bill now, please.

    Finally, for the people of India, it is time to prove Uncle Cynic wrong. There is a bigger truth than his ‘nothing ever changes in India’. That truth comes from the Gita, which states “Nothing is permanent”. The Gita also says, “When the pot of sin overflows, something happens to restore order.” Now, it is up to you to determine if the pot of sin has overflowed. It is for you to say what it means for Indians to act out their dharma. And you, and only you, will decide if it is time to come on the streets.

    kukkumol

    August 28, 2011 at 6:10 am

  6. […] story shows all successive Indian governments in a bad light, and ties up with the themes of the India Against Corruption movement: Q – How did the India angle in Bofors […]


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