From the outset of Anna Hazare’s hunger strike against corruption and for the introduction of the Lokpal Bill, actor-Parliamentarian Shabana Azmi was optimistic about one-man’s struggle becoming a nationwide movement with the youth enlisting its support in a big way.
“Corruption affects everyone. We needed an emotional trigger to curb the vice and found it in Anna Hazare’s hunger strike in the capital. The media kept the pressure on and eventually the powers-to-be realised that the greater the delay, the more the wind in the sails,” she points out, adding that the bill, newspapers yesterday flashed, will be introduced in during the monsoon session of the Parliament. “The writing is on the wall for everyone to see now.”
Azmi was among the many celebrities at the peace rally on Friday evening at the Gateway Of India. She salutes the 28 unsung heroes who went on an indefinite hunger strike too to support Hazare. “A municipal school teacher, a cardio-vascular thoracic surgeon, a businessman and a clerk are among those who joined the rally in the evening after a long day at work,” she reminisces. “The mood was upbeat, the spirits high, and the belief to change things unshakeable. We have to learn to keep our faith in the power of the common man to become a catalyst for social change intact.”
While social activist Medha Patkar, many Bollywood stars and a large section of ‘aam janta’ have supported Anna Hazare, a political group accused him of using this ploy to bring down the government at the centre before completing its tenure. Azmi says, “The Lokpal Bill has been around for four decades. Every successive government, over the years, has claimed to support it but when push comes to shove, it has attempted to water it down. Casting aspersions on Anna Hazare’s motives will not go down well with anyone. India has finally stood up to say in one voice, ‘Enough is enough!’ And as a responsible civilian, I’m with my countrymen.”
How it works…
Lokpal at the centre
An institution called Lokpal will be set up in the centre, and a Lokayukta will be set up in each state. Institutions will be completely independent of the government, just like the Supreme Court and Election Commission.
Lokayukta in the states
No minister can influence investigation, which in any case will have to be completed in one year. Trial should be completed in the next one year so that the culprits are in jail within two years.
Trials within one year
Existing anti-corruption agencies like the CVC, departmental vigilance and anti-corruption branch of the CBI will be merged into Lokpal, which will have complete power and the machinery to independently investigate and prosecute any officer, judge or
Punishments 5 years to life imprisonment
Punishment would be minimum 5 years and maximum of life imprisonment.