On the day when the government introduced the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha, civil society activists led by Anna Hazare burnt copies of the draft legislative proposal across the capital. Anna Hazare, while leading the bill burning agitation, asserted that he would sit on a fast unto death from August 16 at Jantar Mantar.
Team Anna under the banner of India Against Corruption maintained that they would continue burning copies of the Lokpal Bill till August 16, when Hazare would resume his fast unto death again. The Civil Society activists condemned tabling of the Lokpal Bill, which they termed as “weak, anti-poor and anti-dalit”.
Meanwhile, the government hit back at the civil society activists for their acts of burning copies of the Lokpal Bill by saying that the agitation amounted to “insult and affront” to Parliament. Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who was also a member of the joint drafting committee of Lokpal Bill, said the bill being now a property of Parliament, the act of burning its copies amounted to “insult and affront to Parliament”.
While Mr Anan Hazare and his supporters burnt copies of the Lokpal Bill in Ralegaon Siddhi village in Maharashtra, civil society activists Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi led the protest in Kaushambi in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Claiming that he was “cheated” by the government, Mr Hazare told reporters in Ralegaon Siddhi village that this time he would not withdraw from the fast on some assurances by the government. He called upon supporters to join the agitation, which he called as the “second freedom struggle”. He said it was the last chance to eradicate corruption from the country.
“This is a bad and weak bill. We need a new and strong bill. I trusted them when they said they will bring a strong law and ended my fast in April. They cheated me,” Mr Hazare was quoted by agency having said in his village. Asian Age