In a significant move, Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption (IAC) has termed communalism a bigger danger than corruption.
At a time when Team Anna is preparing for taking on the political class directly, beginning with the Lok Sabha by-election for the Hisar seat in Haryana, the move is being viewed as an attempt to maintain distance from all major political parties.
In the code of conduct for its members, the IAC has stated that the movement is completely secular.
"Communalism is more dangerous than corruption. Also, the problems of this country cannot be solved without people from all faiths and religions coming together," the code mentions.
Though, Hazare's associates have constantly maintained that their movement is completely non-political and secular, this is for the first time the IAC has officially attacked communalism strongly.
During the veteran Gandhian's 12-day fast in August, the Congress and some other political parties had charged the BJP with supporting the movement.
Hazare and his team were also repeatedly asked to clarify their stand on their relations with the saffron organisations.
Asked whether the code of conduct signalled repositioning of the anti-graft movement, member of the Hazare team's working committee,
lawyer Prashant Bhushan replied : "Not really. We have always branded communalism as divisive and obstructionist."
On whether their team would launch a separate movement against communalism, Bhushan said : "For us, any divisions on the lines of religion or caste would weaken the fight against corruption, therefore we stand for unity and oppose any diversion." His colleague, Manish Sisodia said Hazare's movement was always based on secular values, but some political parties "indulged in a motivated campaign to discredit the growing wave against graft in the country."
Hazare's team focus against communalism comes days after it had attacked Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's three-day fast, earlier this month. Bhushan and his colleague Arvind Kejriwal had demanded that Modi should make public the details on who funded the event.