Anna’s protest: citizens’ right or blackmail?
New Delhi: The Team Anna versus government deadlock seems to be over for now. Anna Hazare has been given the go ahead to fast for 15 days at Ramlila Maidan. But the civil society is split over whether his method of protest falls in the category of blackmail. Apart from Anna’s team, no one’s come out to support his version of the Lokpal Bill, not even the political Opposition.
Anna Hazare’s supporters loudly expressing that they have complete faith in Anna, his methods and the Jan Lokpal Bill.
“We want the Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed. That is the only condition and till the government accepts it, we won’t agree,” said a supporter.
But there are equally vocal differences in civil society about Anna Hazare. There are those who feel Hazare’s threat of a hunger strike is nothing short of blackmail.
The National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information which has drafted its own version of the Lokpal Bill says that Team Anna’s draft is not the only way to fight corruption.
“It will take several years of fight and struggle to be able to change the situation. People will have to fight for many years no matter what the law is,” said Nikhil Dey.
Others say Anna Hazare’s agitation is only undermining Parliament.
“This is a democratically elected Parliament and anyone who challenges it, please be wary of them,” said Nandita Rao.
And still others feel that Anna is simply a front for the Hindu rightwing groups.
“We have seen what the RSS has done in this country,” said Shabnam Hashmi.
Writer and civil activist Arundhati Roy is scathing about the arrest of Anna but says it’s naive to think that Lokpal will solve corruption problem.
“It is absolutely outrageous what the government has done and mysterious as well. I don’t know what is it so insecure about,” said Arundhati Roy.
In the CNN-IBN State of the Nation poll across 19 states and 20,000 respondents, it was found that only one third of Indians have heard about the Jan Lokpal Bill and only one fourth have any idea what the bill is about. So the Anna Hazare movement could well be one based mainly in the TV viewing educated urban middle class.
The numbers on the street may be growing but scepticism is also growing about this so called second freedom movement.
“I think this is all absurd language about the second freedom struggle and third freedom struggle” questioned Kumar Ketkar.
For some Anna may be Gandhi, but others say, it takes more than just a topi and media attention to become a true Mahatma.