With innumerable scandals (2G spectrum scam, CWG, Adarsh housing scam and so on) the country is facing now, social activist Anna Hazare has decided to take things in his hand and take on the corrupt "babus" by fasting unto death against corruption.
Hazare's decision for holding the indefinite fast came over his demand to introduce a new Lokpal bill in the Parliament to tackle the numerous corruptions that has ruined the roots of Indian political scenario.
Starting his protest on Tuesday, Apr 5, Hazare claimed, "Like Supreme Court (SC) and Election Commission, an independent body called Jan Lokpal should be set up at the Centre and a Jan Lokayukta should be set up in each state to receive complaints of corruption, investigate them within six months and prosecute the guilty."
What is Lokpal Bill?
Lokpal Bill is a measure to conduct an investigation regarding involvements of people with high profiles (Prime Ministers, Chief Justice of India (CJI) and so on). The bill will provide speedy, cheaper form of justice to people.
The Lokpal bill will not wait for any permission from the high commission to begin the inquiry into the alleged irregularities and corruption charges against political leaders, judge's or even the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
In the proposed system, politicians will not have any say in selections of chairperson and members of Lokpal. Loss caused to government will be recovered from accused. The punishment, if found guilty will be 5 years to maximum life term in the proposed system. Right now the punishment is 6 months to maximum 7 years.
However, Lokpal Bills were introduced in the Parliament several times (1969, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008) but failed to be passed all these times.
Despite requests from many leaders including the PM Manmohan Singh not to proceed with his decision of indefinite fast, Anna Hazare kicked off his protest. Within 24 hours, more than 300 people took part in a token huger strike to express their solidarity with Hazare. [UPDATE: Emergency again in India?]
The movement has irked various political parties that had to bear the brunt of Hazare's fiery rhetoric that doesn't seem to spare anyone. Pawar added on the future of the campaign, "The chain hunger strike will continue till April 11 and a 'Jail Bharo' agitation will be launched on April 12, whereby people and activists will court arrest."
Many star campaigners have joined the protest besides 40 or more organizations showing support to the cause. In a statement issued by the All-India Anti-Corruption Committee, "There is a need to get rid of corruption and the Lokpal bill has to be very stringent. Even the prime minister should come under the purview of this bill."
Meanwhile, one of the main targets of Hazare's criticism, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar chided, "I will be happy if you relieve me from all GoMs, including that GoM (on corruption)." [UPDATE: India starts Jail Bharo Andolan]