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Lokpal Bill movement

April 13, 2011

Anna Hazare's hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi

Kisan Baburao Hazare born 15 January 1940 known for Watershed development programmes.He has achieved Padma Shri(1990),Padma Bhushan(1992). On 5 April 2011, Anna Hazare initiated a movement for passing a stronger anti-corruption Lokpal (ombudsman) bill in the Indian Parliament. As a part of this movement, N. Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court of India and Lokayukta of Karnataka, Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer in the Supreme Court along with the members of the India Against Corruption movement drafted an alternate bill, named as the Jan Lokpal Bill (People’s Ombudsman Bill) with more stringent provisions and wider power to the Lokpal(Ombudsman). Hazare began a fast unto death from 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a new bill with stronger penal actions and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. Before commencing his ‘fast unto death’ he stated, “I will fast until Jan Lokpal Bill is passed”.

The movement attracted attention very quickly through various media. It has been reported that thousands of people joined to support Hazare’s effort. Almost 150 people reportedly joined Hazare in his fast. He said that he would not allow any politician to sit with him in this movement. Politicians like Uma Bharti and Om Prakash Chautala were shooed away by protesters when they came to visit the site where the protest was taking place. A number of social activists including Medha Patkar, Arvind Kejriwal and former IPS officer Kiran Bediand Jayaprakash Narayan have lent their support to Hazare’s hunger strike and anti-corruption campaign. This movement has also been joined by many people providing their support in Internet social media such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition to spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Swami Agnivesh and former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev,many celebrities showed their public support through micro-blogging site Twitter. As a result of this movement, on 6 April 2011 Sharad Pawar resigned from the group of ministersformed for reviewing the draft Lokpal bill 2010.
On 8 April 2011, the Government of India accepted all demands of the movement. On 9 April 2011 it issued a notification in the Gazette of India on formation of a joint committee. It accepted the formula that there be a politician Chairman and an activist, non-politician Co-Chairman. According to the notification, Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chairman of the draft committee while Shanti Bhushan will be the co-chairman. “The Joint Drafting Committee shall consist of five nominee ministers of the Government of India and five nominees of the civil society. The five nominee Ministers of the Government of India are Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister of Finance, P. Chidambaram, Union Minister of Home Affairs, M. Veerappa Moily, Union Minister of Law and Justice, Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resource and Development and Minister of Communication and Information Technology and Salman Khursheed, Union Minister of Water Resources and Minister of Minority Affairs. The five nominees of the civil society are Anna Hazare, N. Santosh Hegde, Shanti Bhushan Senior Advocate, Prashant Bhushan, Advocate and Arvind Kejriwal. The movement gathered significant support from India’s youth visible through the local support and on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. There have also been protests inBangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl among other cities of India.

On the morning of 9 April 2011 Anna Hazare ended his 98-hour hunger strike by first offering lemon juice to some of his supporters who had gone on a hunger strike in his support. The social activist then broke his fast by consuming some lemon juice. He addressed the people and set a deadline of 15 August 2011 to pass the Lokpal Bill in the Indian Parliament.

Real fight begins now. We have a lot of struggle ahead of us in drafting the new legislation, We have shown the world in just five days that we are united for the cause of the nation. The youth power in this movement is a sign of hope.

Anna Hazare also said that if the bill was not passed, then he will call a mass nation-wide agitation. He called his movement as “second struggle for independence” and he will continue the fight.

Me as a student I would always support struggles like this and we all should support this kind of struggles .

 

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