Social activist Anna Hazare, the former IPS officer, Kiran Bedi, and Swami Agnivesh address a news conference in New Delhi on Monday, demanding an anti-corruption law on the lines of Lokpal Bill. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
My fast begins today, says Anna Hazare PTI/Amruta Byatnal
After Manmohan rejected demand by civil society to include them in joint panel to discuss the draft
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare will observe fast unto death from Tuesday until the government enacts a comprehensive law such as the Jan Lokpal Bill to tackle the menace.
“My fast unto death begins tomorrow. I was saddened when the Prime Minister rejected the demand by leading civil society members to include them and senior Ministers in the joint committee to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill [Citizen's Ombudsman Bill],” 72-year-old Mr. Hazare told a press conference here on Monday.
He said a Group of Ministers headed by Sharad Pawar was looking into the contents of the proposed anti-corruption bill and civil society members would be consulted later.
Retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi and social reformist Swami Agnivesh were also present and pledged their support to Mr. Hazare.
Mr. Hazare lamented that the views of eminent persons such as Justice (retired) Santosh Hegde, advocate Prashant Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh were not considered important by the government and “a Minister like Sharad Pawar, who is known for possessing large amounts of land in Maharashtra, is heading a committee that will draft the bill.”
Swami Agnivesh said he attended the meeting in the morning of the sub-group on transparency of the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Sonia Gandhi. A ‘Jan Lokpal' should be set up at the Centre and a ‘Jan Lokayukta' appointed in each State to handle corruption cases, probe them and ensure prosecution.
“If the NAC had also decided to look into our demands, Hazare would not have to sit on fast. At an earlier meeting of ours with the GoM, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily kept saying there was no precedent of having a joint committee to draft such a bill”, Swami Agnivesh said.
Ms. Bedi said just like the nation was united during the Cricket World Cup to boost India to victory, people, activists and the media had to create a non-stop movement till the Jan Lokpal Bill is adopted by Parliament.
The activists also claimed support of 1983 cricket world cup winning captain Kapil Dev and said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to support their demand. — PTI
A resolve to end corruption Amruta Byatnal reports from Pune:
Gudi Padwa, the day celebrated as the beginning of the new year all over Maharashtra, was marked by a resolve to end corruption at Ralegan Siddhi, Mr. Hazare's hometown in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district.
In solidarity with the India against Corruption movement that is taking momentum across the country, 80 per cent of the residents erected a ‘gudi' with a black cloth, instead of the traditional red.
“The gudi outside every home symbolises a new beginning, and we want to start a life without corruption. Anna is undertaking a historic task tomorrow [Tuesday] by starting an indefinite fast. We want to show our support to the cause,” said Sanjay Pathade, a teacher.
A gram sabha was convened last week, where everyone was asked to erect the black gudi.
Those who did not have a black cloth did not erect a gudi at all, Mr. Pathade told The Hindu.
“There was no excitement over the festival, but the resolution is firm in people's minds. Anna has said he will not return without getting the Bill passed and we extend our whole-hearted support,” Mr. Pathade said.
My fast begins today, says Anna Hazare
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