Anna Hazare said a couple of days ago that those who think the minorities are not joining his agitation as it has the backing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh must be sent to mental hospitals. On Monday, however, a section of the Muslim intelligentsia and politicians rejected his mode of protests outright as undemocratic, claiming that through it the RSS and the BJP were trying to sneak to power through the back door.
At a meeting organised by the All India Minorities and Dalit Intellectual Front at the Constitution Club here, speaker after speaker criticised the manner in which Anna Hazare had questioned the right of Parliament to frame laws. They cautioned that it would only lead to social strife.
Social activist Abdul Khalid said there was “no need to be wary of the chaos on the streets – the same rich and well-to-do people had come out during the Mandal Commission days”.
“Even we can collect 10 lakh people here. Let them show their power, we will also show them the power of the minorities and the Dalits,” Mr. Khalid said, adding that the Anna agitation has, instead of bringing focus on corruption, only taken away the attention from various scandals. Media personality Aziz Burney said the first casualty of the war against corruption was RTI activist Shehla Masood but since she belonged to a minority community, not much attention was paid to her. “We were the first to sacrifice our lives during the freedom struggle and so is the case now. But what is happening is not right. Some people say we want change and the Government kneels before them. Where was this civil society when Tehelka exposed corruption in the BJP, when the Karnataka Lokayukta exposed the BJP Chief Minister and when the issues of rights of the victims of Gujarat carnage were raised?” he asked.
Independent MP Mohammad Adeeb said the question today is not the Lokpal Bill but whether the law will be made in Parliament or on the roads. “India's parliamentary system has given us a place of pride in the community of nations but today we are trying to bring that very system down,” he said, adding that the RSS, which had hijacked the JP movement, was now also very much behind the Anna movement.
“Police and Income Tax are considered the most corrupt of departments and now we have officials from these very departments running this agitation,” Mr. Adeeb quipped. He cautioned that the way Germans created Hitler by giving him overriding powers, India might end up handing over powers to a Lokpal without enough safeguards.
Mr. Adeeb questioned how such a big agitation was organised within days by Anna who does not have an organisation, money or power. “The slogans being raised at the venues indicate that RSS is firmly behind it.”
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the agitation has little meaning as the Government's Bill also has the provision of prosecuting the Prime Minister by the Lokpal within seven years of his demitting office.
The meeting was among others also addressed by Bhim Singh of the Panther's Party and N. K. Sharma, political advisor to Union Minister Kapil Sibal.