India supports Anna Hazare in real and virtual world
By IANS Wednesday, 06 April 2011, 23:35 IST
Students and stars, retired judges andrights activists, corporates and canny politicians' In arare consonance of idea and ideal, thousands of Indians joined the chorus for a more stringent lawagainst corruption, a rapidly snowballing movementpropelled by reformer Anna Hazare whose fast-unto-death entered day two here Wednesday.In what has become one of the biggest massmovements in recent times, 72-year-old Hazare's fastat Jantar Mantar in the Indian capital found resonanceacross the country with thousands more comingforward to join the crusade against corruption - and astronger, more comprehensive Lokpal (ombudsman)bill to fight corruption in public life.The Manmohan Singh-led government, battling aseries of corruption allegations, fought theunexpected onslaught and said it was not averse tocivil society's suggestions.The Lokpal Bill 2010 provides for filing complaints of corruption against the prime minister, ministers andMPs with the ombudsman. However, Hazare says thebill in its present form is toothless and his supportershad drafted a separate Jan Lokpal bill that calls for the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (in states) beingindependent of government control.According to India Against Corruption, the banner under which the protests are being held, people from 400 citiesand towns are participating in the movement - one that Hazare calls a second satyagraha, on the lines of thepeaceful protest launched by Mahatma Gandhi against the British."This is democracy and we want people's participation in drafting the Lokpal Bill," Hazare told reporters.The stirring strains of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram" and the rousing "VandeMataram" played as people gathered together for the extraordinary protest and made sure politicians stayed out.So, Om Prakash Chautala, Ajit Singh, Madan Lal Khurana and Uma Bharati had to make hasty retreat as protesterssaid no political party would be allowed to gain mileage from their movement. Similar reports came in from other parts of the country."We want representation from civil society in drafting the Lokpal Bill, 50 percent from civil society and 50 percent fromthe government," said Hazare.The frail Hazare, a former soldier whose work in the drought prone village of Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra becamea global byword for rural development, said he was fine and good for another 10-12 days.