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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

UP anti-graft crusader’s protest makes record, but government unmoved

Teacher-turned activist Vijay Singh has been staging a dharna since 1996 to clear public land of encroachment

india Updated: Feb 26, 2017 20:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Muzaffarnagar
Teacher- turned anti-graft crusader  Vijay Singh’s protest enters 22nd year on Sunday, earning him place in several record books.
Teacher- turned anti-graft crusader Vijay Singh’s protest enters 22nd year on Sunday, earning him place in several record books. (HT Photo)

Anti-corruption crusader Vijay Singh’s protest, which entered 22nd year on Sunday, has earned him a place in different record books. But his goal remains as elusive as ever.

The teacher-turned activist sat on a dharna on the premises of Muzaffarnagar collectorate office on this day in 1996, to free 4,000 bighas of ‘gram sabha’ land from the clutches of land grabbers in his native village Chausana in Uttar Pradesh.

For doggedly pursuing the cause for the last two decades, he got a place in the Limca Book of Records, the India Book of Records, the Asia Book of Records, and the Unique World Records.

His long-protest, however, failed to push into action successive state governments.

“In 1996, the then commissioner of Meerut zone, HL Virdi, was convinced about the veracity of my claim. But he did not initiate any action against the land grabbers,” Singh recalled.

“Again in 2002, the then ADM, CP Singh, initiated a probe, but nothing came out of it. Five years later in 2007, the then ADM, Ajay Deep Singh too found my claims to be true,” he added.

Failing to convince the district administration to act against the alleged land grabbers, Singh undertook a 610km march from Muzaffarnagar to Lucknow in 2012 to meet the newly elected young chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav.

On his part the CM assured to form a high-level committee to look into the matter. “Nothing happened even after the CM’s promise,” he said.

The experience has left him disillusioned with the politicians and administration.

“In this election season, all prominent political parties are promising a corruption-free society and good governance. But I don’t believe in any of their promises anymore,” he said.

So, how long will he continue with his protest? The former school teacher has no answer to this.

First Published: Feb 26, 2017 20:48 IST

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