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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Anna's Jantantra Yatra reaches Faridkot

HT correspondent  Faridkot, April 03, 2013
First Published: 08:37 IST(3/4/2013) | Last Updated: 08:44 IST(3/4/2013)

Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday visited Faridkot to make people aware of their democratic rights. He was accompanied by former army chief Gen VK  Singh (retd), World Soofi Organisation chairman Soofi Gilani and Santosh Bharti.

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He addressed a public gathering near Baba Farid shrine.

"We have no other motive (political or else) behind our Jantantra Yatra except for to awaken the public. The people are not aware that they are the real masters/owners of the country since India got freedom. They became the real owners of the country, but they do not know, they have sent their elected representatives to the state assemblies as MLAs and to Parliament as MPs, but now they have turned out to be the masters of the country," Anna said.

"Actually, the voters have elected them, the elected representatives are the servants, but the servants have adopted the role of the masters and started stealing things (scams and corruption) of the masters," Anna commented on the weak set-up of democracy in India. "Votes are sold and bought, the politics revolves around money, but change is possible if the people get aware," the 75-year-old social activist said.

"To strengthen democracy, the awakening of the voters is needed and we so we have started our travel to bring awareness among the masses," he said. "Due to lack of awareness of the masses, goons and criminals are entrring Parliament and state assemblies," he added.

On corruption, Anna said, "Even the British did not exploit the country as much as our own people have exploited our own people and country. We are out to serve society and country and shall live and die for this casue," he told the gathering.

Addressing the gathering, Gen VK Singh (retired) said, "We have achieved little in the last 65 years and rather have been divided on the basis of caste, creed and religion by people with vested interests."

He said, "In real sense, people ought to have participation in decision and policy making in a true democracy, but it is not so. So many scams have taken place, prices of common goods are increasing and people are facing many other problems."

Singh said, "As sugar is being decontrolled; sugar mills would fix rates of sugar which would go up, leading to another burden on public."

"All problems have a solution, but you must get together on a common platform. Now you are divided and are not heard, but when you come together, you would have to be heard. We appeal to the people to visit Delhi in the first week of September and the public would decide on how to run the country," he said.

Soofi Gilani also addressed the people making them realize that their problems are common and they must come together to fight corruption and for betterment of the country.

Former army chief blames people for corruption

Former army chief Gen VK Sharma (retired) on Tuesday blamed the general public for the rampant corruption in the country.

"Corruption is all pervasive in our country. It starts from the bottom; the public itself is responsible for it as people give money for getting a work done," Singh told HT here.
"Only awareness can stop corruption; the more correct the democracy, the lesser the corruption," he said.

"The more sound a democratic system in a country, the lesser the corruption. If the voters are well aware of their right to elect the representatives and democracy is functiong well, the chances of corruption decrease," he said.

In reply to a question about the alleged corruption in the army, he said, "The Army is also a part of the system and it cannot be seen differently, but still it has a cleaner image. However, to check corruption in the army, strict decision at the top should be taken. If someone found guilty at the top is punished, it sends a strong message down and helps in checking corruption, Singh said. "During my tenure as the army chief, I had taken action against some top-level officers," he claimed.

"We are on an awareness compaign to make the masses aware of corruption and would call them to Delhi in September to know their views on how to run the country. Till then, we would have covered a major part of the country on Jantantra Yatra," said Singh.

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