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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Don't push Lokpal 'too hard': Freedom fighters tell Hazare

PTI  New Delhi, June 12, 2011
First Published: 15:19 IST(12/6/2011) | Last Updated: 15:22 IST(12/6/2011)

With the Anna Hazare-led civil society toughening its stand on the Lokpal Bill, a group of freedom fighters have said they will write to the Gandhian leader asking him not to "push too hard" on the bill by threatening to go on another fast for enacting the legislation.

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They also view "businessman" Ramdev's self-coined 'Satyagraha' to bring back black money stashed abroad as an "absurd" episode similar to a "Bollywood movie" in which he wanted to create a show and not agitate against corruption.

The freedom fighters were among the first to sit on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar demanding setting up of a strong Lokpal before the now-famous fast-unto-death protest by Hazare in April.

"We are writing to Hazare that his threat to sit on a hunger strike from August 16 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed could prove counter-productive. This is not the way to press hard with your own calendar, when even the draft is not ready. One must live to fight," Shambhu Dutta, general secretary of the Gandhian Seva and Satyagraha Brigade, told PTI.

93-year-old Dutta, who along with his five colleagues, was the first to sit on fast-unto-death on January 30 on the Lokpal issue, said, "Fissures have appeared in the joint drafting committee. We have given our full support to Hazare but the civil society seems to be pushing the matter too hard.

"They have demanded so many things to be put within the jurisdiction or ambit of Lokpal that no government probably can agree," Dutta, an ex-army officer, said.

He was of the view that the bill should be allowed to pass as amendments can be made in the coming year or two. "It is wrong to be adamant over the provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill," he said.

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