Raising its ante against the Centre, the civil society members of the joint drafting committee on the lokpal bill on Sunday announced boycott of future committee meetings. They have also decided to hold a dharna on June 8 to protest against forceful eviction of Baba Ramdev and his supporters from Ramlila grounds late on Saturday.
Ramdev's eviction received an unprecedented support from the civil society members who had accused him to playing into hands of the RSS and tried to distance from him on Saturday.
Swami Agnivesh, a member of social activist 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 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 Raj and the 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 Centre is not being transparent in its fight against corruption and was trying to crush anti-corruption movement 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.
It also announced boycott of joint drafting committee meeting slated for Monday putting a condition for participation that the Centre should first clarify its stand on all outstanding issues in fight against corruption and ensure live telecast of the meetings to bring transparency. "If we are satisfied with reply, we will participate," 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.
Hazare asked people to protest for a day on June 8 to solidarity with Ramdev and express their concern over the Centre's unserious approach towards corruption.