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Team Anna cautious on Kashmir, NE demands

delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2011 22:17 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Social activist Anna Hazare's team is treading cautiously before committing itself to the demands being made from Kashmir to the North-Eastern parts of the country, inviting him to participate and lead the ongoing movements in those regions.

Mindful of the public support generated during the 12-day fast of Hazare, his team does not want to fritter away the advantage since the demands from various specific sections of society do not fit well into the narrative that their movement has created, of a pan-India, single identity against corruption.

For instance, any sign of sympathy for Kashmir or such groups, could cause a reaction among his other supporters who are primarily flag-waving Indian nationalists.

Asked about the statement of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the leader of the moderate faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, in which he appealed to the veteran Gandhian to take up the issue of killings of innocent civilians in the valley, Hazare's aide, Arvind Kejriwal said it would be decided by their core committee.

"It will be ultimately for Anna ji to decide and all such issues will be discussed in our core committee meeting to be held at his village on September 10-11," Kejriwal said.

He hinted that team Anna's current focus on the Lokpal Bill is likely to continue till it reaches a logical conclusion.

Kejriwal's colleague, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said there is a need to "broadbase" Hazare's movement, but for that a formal decision would have to be taken collectively.

"We will have to take a decision on broadbasing the movement. We may have to take a call on some of the movements going on in different parts of the country and it is not necessary to respond to all of them," he said.

On Hazare being invited to Manipur by Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for nearly 11 years, demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Protection) Act, Bhushan said he supported her demand and would discuss it with his team.

"I support the demand for repealing the Armed Forces (Special Protection) Act from Kashmir and North-Eastern parts of the country. We will certainly take a call on this," the activist lawyer said.

Another member of Hazare's core team, Medha Patkar had publicly stated during the veteran Gandhian's fast at Ramlila Grounds that people agitating against the nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Mahrashtra and those fighting against mega scams like Mumbai's Adarsh housing society scam were looking upto Anna to provide leadership.