Anna to fast in support of Baba Ramdev | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Anna to fast in support of Baba Ramdev

Even as Ramdev's agitation has drawn lines across civil society, government action against the baba's yoga camp has united all voices of dissent, with Anna Hazare now joining the yoga guru's protest, with a day long fast scheduled for June 8. Anna to boycott Lokpal panel meeting

delhi Updated: Jun 06, 2011 00:12 IST
HT Correspondent

Even as Ramdev's agitation has drawn lines across civil society, government action against the baba's yoga camp has united all voices of dissent with Anna Hazare now joining the yoga guru's protest, with a day long fast scheduled for June 8.

Anna Hazare, whose 'India Against Corruption' has proved to be a seminal point in India's history of protests, announced a one day fast at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on June 8, to protest police action on Ramdev's agitation.

"We have decided that we will organise a day's fast on June 8," Hazare told a news conference in New Delhi and urged Indians across the country to follow suit.

"Wherever you may be, you may stage a fast. And pray to god to give wisdom to this government."

Hazare, whose five-day fast here in April forced the government to set up a panel to draft a Lokpal bill, denounced the police crackdown on yoga guru Ramdev and the eviction of thousands of his supporters from here.

"We condemn this action. This is a blot on humanity," he said. "This is like throttling democracy." Saying protests were allowed in a democracy, he said the police attack on the mass of sleeping protesters at Ramlila ground at night was highly condemnable.

Ramdev's eviction received an unprecedented support from civil society members, who earlier accused him to playing into the hands of RSS and had tried to distance from him on Saturday.

Swami Agnivesh, a member of social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-graft movement distanced himself from Ramdev, but termed the police action as “unfortunate”. “This is an unfortunate incident… It cannot be condoned in any manner,” Agnivesh said.

Even Aruna Roy, member of the National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi, described the government action as deplorable and said the plurality of views and their peaceful expression are a sign of a healthy vibrant democracy, and must be protected.

The incident reminded Medha Patkar of suppression of Indians by the British government and emergency. "There was no firing otherwise the eviction was similar to Jallianwalla Bagh incident," Anna Hazare, who started crusade against corruption with a fast in April, said.

Hazare and his team agreed with Ramdev that the government was not being transparent in its fight against corruption and was trying to crush anti-corruption movements in the country.

"The incidents of the last night and the proceedings of earlier meetings clearly make government’s intentions in dealing with corruption suspect," said a statement issued by civil society members of the joint drafting committee.

Hazare said the government did not appear to be serious in eradicating corruption.

And the government's problems are far from over. After dealing with Baba Ramdev's hunger strike, the government is likely to face another challenge soon with Anna Hazare-led civil society, which wants to bring 'mantri to santri' (minister to sentry) under the ambit of the proposed Lokpal Bill.

Furthermore, civil society members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee also announced boycott of the joint drafting committee meeting slated for Monday, putting a condition for participation that the government should first clarify its stand on all outstanding issues in the fight against corruption and ensure live telecast of the meetings to bring transparency.

"If we are satisfied with the government's reply then we will participate," former lawyer minister Shanti Bhushan said. But were quick to add that they were not supporting Ramdev as an individual, but the issue he has raised.

"We also want the government to bring an Ordinance to declare black money as national assest," RTI activist and member of Hazare's team, Arvind Kejriwal said.

It remains to be seen how the centre deals with rising criticism from all quarters and the fight being fought on multiple fronts.

(with inputs from IANS)