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Activists divided: For and against Hazare

Social activists are deeply divided over the anti corruption movement led by Anna Hazare.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2011 18:27 IST

Social activists are deeply divided over the anti corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. While human rights activist Swami Agnivesh says the movement has a groundswell of popular support, activist and columnist Shabnam Hashmi feels Hazare has adopted an authoritarian attitude and is supported by right wing groups.

'Hazare arrest repressive, anti-democratic'

By Swami Agnivesh

The arrest of Anna Hazare is anti democratic and repressive. The government's authoritarian act will cost it dearly. Government should not stand on false prestige. It should gauge the public mood and the aspirations of the youth, students and the ordinary people.

The government should realise that the proposed Lokpal bill draft falls much short of the people's aspirations. Instead of sitting on technicalities that the bill is the property of the Parliament and so on, the government should immediately rectify the bill and make it an effective legislation.

Parliament should be respected, but the supreme parliament - people - should get higher respect.

There is a groundswell of support for the movement against corruption. I and other colleagues in the India Against Corruption movement, personally felt it during Hazare's fast in April. Despite all gloomy predictions, hundreds of people came out to back him on Tuesday also. There have been demonstrations in various states and even outside India. The movement is irresistible now.

Public sentiment is against corruption. Now, nobody can stop this yearning for transparency and accountability. Among individuals and groups, families and communities, the talk narrows down to one point: Corruption and the mounting corruption in the country.

The government should not invent arguments for delaying and evading an effective Lokpal bill. Every day delayed will recoil on the government. It will have to pay a huge political price.

'Hazare movement linked to right-wing'

By Shabnam Hashmi

I don't support Anna's movement at all, neither does he represent me any way. He has adopted an authoritarian attitude in his fight against corruption and is affiliated to right-wing Hindu groups.

I have myself been fighting the government pressing for some legislations like the communal violence bill. But that doesn't mean you can undermine the existing democratic institutions of India.

Framing laws need deep engagements, holistic consultations. Bills aren't Maggie noodles that you cook for two minutes and are ready to eat.

What Anna is proposing is an anti-democratic Lokpal. It would take away all the power from existing institutions and suddenly we will have an over-arching and super-power like institution.

I myself don't agree with the government on various issues. The prime minister should come under the ambit of any anti-corruption institution.

There is nothing that the proposed Lokpal will bring to bear in the form of greater sense of transparency and accountability in the system than what the existing institutions have achieved or not achieved.

For that, a necessary condition is the creation of a social consciousness which would decisively disapprove and reject the culture of favouritism and nepotism.

You also need to define corruption. Are you only worried about the monetary corruption? What about the suppression of poor in the name of development. Land is being grabbed from poor farmers. Look what is happening to minorities in Gujarat.

Does your lokpal cover all that? Or you are ignoring morally corrupt behaviour of people?

And then there is the issue of covert support by right wing Hindu activists to the Hazare movement.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists have been participating in the movement. And Anna likes to stand with chief minister Narendra Modi. Is his movement really that clean?