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Updated: August 18, 2011 10:36 IST

Government takes a tough line on Hazare

Special Correspondent
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Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addresses a press conference at Shastri Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.
PTI Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addresses a press conference at Shastri Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday.

Four days ahead of a re-run of social activist Anna Hazare's hunger strike on the Lokpal issue, the Union government on Friday expressed its strong disapproval of such an “extreme” form of protest at a time when the draft of the Bill is being deliberated on by a Standing Committee of Parliament on which members of all political parties are represented.

“At this stage, an extra-parliamentary protest seems unjustified,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram told journalists at a briefing of the Group of Ministers on the Media, when he was asked how the government viewed Mr. Hazare's proposed agitation from August 16.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayansamy, who is also a member of the GoM, pointed out that parliamentary practice allowed people from different sections of society to give their views to the Standing Committee either in person or in writing. However, “The Bill is now the property of Parliament – it is for Parliament to decide [on the final shape of the Bill].”

Clearly, the government feels it is on a firmer footing now, and is unwilling any longer to buckle under the pressure of civil society groups. Mr. Chidambaram noted that while everybody had the right to protest, “the context and circumstances will decide whether the protest is right or not.” Mr. Hazare's first fast could perhaps be right, but not so now, as the government had introduced a Bill.

Asked whether the government could intervene in case Mr. Hazare's condition deteriorated after he went on fast, “Certainly, if anyone's life is in danger, the government has not only a duty, but a right to intervene.” He added quickly that the statement was a “general one;” not in the context of Mr. Hazare.

Asked why the government was delaying giving permission to Mr. Hazare to hold a fast, Mr. Chidambaram said it was for the Delhi Police Commissioner, who was examining the request, to take a decision.

To another query how the government would “tackle” the fast, Mr. Chidambaram said that as it was not a game of football, the government had no intention of “tackling or pushing anyone.”

On Team Anna's claim of 90 per cent support in Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi, for the Jan Lokpal Bill, he said he only wanted to repeat what Union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said, “We are surprised it is not 100 per cent.”

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I am totally against the stand taken by the government towards the most needed -Strong Lok pal bill to fight against corruption, which day by day takes a shape of menace. By arresting Anna & his team, the govt. has shown that she doesn't has the will to create a strong lok pal bill. The govt.is behaving like adamant and just adulterate the meaning of democracy.Someone tell them the meaning of democracy or otherwise they'll do what they want to do.

from:  raju urawn
Posted on: Aug 16, 2011 at 22:29 IST

I am waiting to see what will be the HM's response when some Telengana leader goes on a protest meeting or fast in future. No such conditions were put when KSR went on indefinite fast. I am sure PC will give an excuse saying that it is a state subject ( forgetting what he is doing for Gujarat ).

from:  Raman V.R
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 16:57 IST

Is it hard to guess why the Govt is taking a tough stand on Anna Hazare's fast if the Govt is so sincere in passing the necessary Lokpal bill to serve the necessary purpose?Middle classes and the youth of the nation should strengthen the hands of Anna Hazare to bring the Govt to knees.

from:  syam
Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 at 07:47 IST

Mr Chidamabaram: what do you mean the Lokpal Bill is a property of the Parliament?The parliament is a representation of my voice and I stand with Anna that all politicians and bureaucrats must come under the Lokpal's lens. I an dmy country deserve honest and selfless leaders.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 23:11 IST

All people of India should support Anna in this difficult situation to fight corrupted cong govt. It is people who voted for congress and it is everyone's responsibility to clean it up. Anna is risking his life for the people of India. I'm pretty confident every indian is looking at the situation closely, if Govt plays any cruel role as it played against baba ramdev there will be agitation nation wide. Anna has recently received the status of latest Gandhi to crusade India against Corruption by people of India. Any arrest or ill-treatment to such a noble person will not be tolerated by people. Govt should understand the seriousnous of corruption which is the plague for development of India. The wealth earned by the indian economy needs to be shared and njoyed by every common people and not just be looted by disgraceful political rants.

from:  Param
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 22:41 IST

Web-savvy cronies of vested-interest have been 'hired' to spread some stupid rumour (of course originated by politician who has proven in last few months that his mind has shrunk and tongue has grown) that team Anna is VHP/RSS doing. Let me ask them 2 questions - 1. What vested interest does VHP/RSS have in supporting him ? 2. And if VHP/RSS is behind him, so what ? VHP/RSS is associated with Hindutva, and politicians leverage that fact to project VHP/RSS as something that is for/by upper-caste Hindus. So effectively dividing India by religion and casteism, the age old recipe for divide and rule. However, does corruption affect someone from supposedly lower-caste, or who is a non-hindu, any less ? VHP/RSS have been traditionally associated with BJP as well. As we all know BJP in Karnataka has been shown to be just as corrupt. So it probably stands to hurt them as well. As we all know, no political party is untouched by corruption, so nobody is spared.

from:  Icarus
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 21:49 IST

Dooms day is approaching for the present Govt. All mubaraks to quit.

from:  Thomas Manimala Parathara
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 20:38 IST

The elected representatives have every right to make laws which are benificial to the civilain of India .We elected them to voice our concern in parliament and not to make the laws which help the corrupted people.Conduct raid in the house of representatives then you could find more treasure than we could think about. British people also gave us freedom by our leaders struggle .So rally behind Annaji to build a free corrupted India.Now they are not in a position to declared emergency because of coalition govt . Other wise they will also do what they had done to JP and his movement.

from:  Balan
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 20:08 IST

The decision to protest the formulating lokpal bill is completely democratic,there is no any question of irresponsiblity.Mr. Hazare and his group is doing a tremendous work and should continue until the destination is reached.Lokpal in objectional format is not acceptable at any price.This is democracy and the govt.should consider the query of every person.Mass of the people in the country is in favour of anna hazare,and the govt.should know this.

from:  Amit Kumar NITJ
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 18:57 IST

Anyone know why he was removed from Finance ministry? It was well known to government that he was involved in 2G spectrum case. I wish this kind of people should be punished more strogly than any terrorist or gangster. Because he is more dangerous than any terrorist.

from:  Alagu Kumar
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 18:37 IST

@ Vijayan.A You use the words 'elected representatives''. So who do they represent, just the few who have managed to plunder the nation, or the masses who endure the daily harassment of bribery and corruption, are denied the right to lead a normal and peaceful life, and are crying out for help from their elected representatives? When the 'self proclaimed group' consists of the majority, is that not 'democracy in action'? Indians now belong to just two classes - the plunderers and the plundered. But inaction will affect the future generations of 'all Indians', unless you migrate abroad.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 18:19 IST

The elected representatives has to decide and not self proclaimed groups.

from:  Vijayan.A
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 16:01 IST

They are not concerned about the people's democracy. They want only their own democracy/freedom by which they can do any things. In spite of very serious concerns / objection on the listed out scams by the Honourable Suprem Court, CAG, other investigating agencies and even though by the PAC ( Public Account Committee of Parliament), all is well for them and delivering speeches on moral responsibilities and feeling pride in saying that nothing irregular has been done. The activities of these people's representatives, who are empowered by the nation to make the future of all its citizens good, is not commendable and in some extent losing hope for future. A lost hope person / society / nation can never survive for long. The present movement against the corruption led by Sh. Anna Hazare should reach at its destination and this will be possible only by the full support of all the countrymen. Jai Hind.

from:  Trilok Singh
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 15:47 IST

Parliament is representative of people's will,But in this case parliament is trying to say that they are the dictators of India as they are going against the will of people(A strong lokpal bill).

from:  sunil
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 14:26 IST

What is democracy? If people do not have right to disagree with with Government for their rights. Do people do not have a right to have a corruption free India. Who is going to be affected if a strong Anti-corruption law is made? Why the Government want Politicians out of Anti-Corruption Bill, when most of recent scams (2G, CWG, Adarsh, etc) all involve Politicians, Ministers and MPs. As citizens of India, why can't people get answers for these questions? Why the PM does not even talk on such a major issue? Is it real Democracy or Dictatorship?

from:  Ramana
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 14:10 IST

Since when has the Indian government begun to licence public protests? Asking the ' organisers' to give them an undertaking to vacate the area by a sopecified date and calling the satyagraha as 'unjustified' are symptoms that there is something wrong with our democracy. This certainly represents a clear example how our parliamentary democracy is being subverted inch by inch by the congress.

from:  S Subramanyan
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 13:37 IST

Instead of critisizing patriotic Hazare's crusade against corruption, the present Lokpal bill, as it stands, does not meet the approval of free press in India as it is seen as shielding and protecting corrupt publicly elected officials. Why they should be excluded as even President of usa is not immune from allegations of misconduct.Why cant the govt let the Lokpal decide whether there is any primaficie case.Do u need more proof than swiss banks admitting 2.5 billions in numbered accounts held by indians as published in Hindu.

from:  Ramachander Nanduri
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 12:30 IST

Mr.Chidambaram is of the view that himself is India and nothing more. Tyrant in the name of democracy.

from:  atromurthy
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 12:22 IST

India is democratic, right? Democracy has been defined as a system of governance where "the people affected by governance have a say in the governance." In short if we, the people, think that any action committed by the Democratic Government is unsuitable/negatively affects us, we have every right to protest. By trying to term these protests 'unjustified' the Govt has simply shown that it has no inkling of what a democracy is - according to it, Democracy means an election whereby some govt is propped up, never mind through what means, and then the people keep fingers on their lips and let the P'ment do whatever it wants to do. That is not a democracy - thus by terming these protests 'unjustified', the Govt has openly discredited the democratic aspect of itself. Prima Facie, this amounts to a violation of the Constitution.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 11:39 IST

Perhaps the remaining 10% are those who will be in jail if the Bill becomes a law. . .

from:  Murugaraj
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 11:35 IST

Such 'tough lines' only reveal that the Govt will NOT act on the LP issue with a firm hand, and WILL go on trying to sideline the focal point of corruption. That the bravado is propped up by self-preservation and not uprightness is clear - more so when we compare the Govt's initial reaction to the protests when it didn't know how much popular support the protests were going to get. Now that it knows that there are those who are being fooled by arguments of P'mentary sovereignty, they know they can save their ill-gotten millions as well as the elections and now have started taking tough stances. Remember the SC judgements in the PJ Thomas case - it clearly said that corruption issues CANNOT be swept under the carpet of technicalities. That is exactly what the Govt is trying to do - hiding behind P'mentary sovereignty while stealing from us. It's high time we, the people, put a stop to this.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 11:19 IST

Mr.Chidambarams's greatest qulaification to be the a Cavinet Minister is passing the buck. Blame it on the police commissioner for denying permission to hold a gathering of people. Blame Pakistan for not co-operating for his own ineffecient handling of issues. The other minister Mr Narayanaswamy has the 'Yes Minister' syndrome. He wants to refer the issue standing committee to bury the issue once and for all. Please ministers, start earning your pay and perks. You would not allow your cook or servant to address the way you have done. We the people deserve better from the taxes we pay.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 11:19 IST

The arrogance and sarcasm in the deliberations of the minsiters in the UPA , towards the anti-corruption movement , point to being authoritarian ,anti-democratic and out of touch with the pulse of the people. If the Govt is so sure that they will win and that civil society teams' voice does not represent that of the majority in the country , why dont they simply call for a referendum .

from:  VJ Nambiar
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 11:08 IST

Everybody has a right to protest peacefully but nobody has the right to say that his or her opinion is the ultimate and all contrary opinions are useless - That is the basic essence of democracy and freedom of expression. While the lokpal bill (with its inherent weaknesses or strengths) is currently before the standing committee, its unfortunate that some people have chosen to be absolutely adamant.

from:  Sanjay Singh
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 10:19 IST

Any entity, whose acts of commission and ommission are protested against by another entity,can be expected to dismiss the protest as unjustified. Therefore one is not surprised by the Home Minister's comments. But what is surprising is the arrogant 'holier than thou' attitude of a government which is reeling under a spate of mega scams. The sooner the government realises the impact of the Anna Hazare phenominon on the public mind, the better it will be for it.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 06:08 IST

"On Team Anna's claim of 90 per cent support in Rahul Gandhi's constituency Amethi, for the Jan Lokpal Bill, he said he only wanted to repeat what Union Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said, 'We are surprised it is not 100 per cent.' " Now Chidambaram has joined Sibal in mocking the Indian Public.Congress politicians vehemently oppose a strong lok pal bill because everyone worth their salt in the party is corrupt and has black money including Sibal. We as Citizens of India should stop this menace and peacefully protest until we have a strong lok pal that brings everyone in Govt or paid with tax payer money under it.

from:  Stephen
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 05:15 IST

The Government decided to take severe action on Social Activist ANNA Hazare when he goes on hunger agitation but never wanted to redraft the LOKPAL BILL suggested by the team of Anna Hazare clearly indicates that this government is not for eliminating Corruption out of India. The government determined the LOKPAL BILL drafted by the government will be passed in the Parliament will get backfired definitely and the Government will fall.

from:  S.Gurumurthy
Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 at 05:06 IST
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