The title “Corrupt, repressive and stupid” (editorial, Aug. 17) could not have been more precise. It describes well the UPA government's action of detaining Anna Hazare even before he began his fast on Tuesday to press for a stronger Lokpal bill. The government should recognise people's mood. Getting elected to power does not mean absolute freedom to do anything for five years. Under pressure to release Mr. Hazare after stupidly arresting him, the Manmohan Singh government will have to face another reality — people want it to reconsider the Lokpal bill presented in Parliament.
G. Manohar Row,
Two months ago, the UPA government rained lathis on Baba Ramdev's supporters, who were protesting against black money, in the middle of the night. And on Tuesday, it imposed unreasonable conditions to prevent Mr. Hazare from protesting against the government's Lokpal bill. After Ramdev and the Bhushans, it is Mr. Hazare's turn to be maligned. Had Gandhiji been alive today, he would have been ashamed of the Congress-led government.
The government took the Jan Lokpal bill, contemplated by Team Anna, lightly and invited the consequences. It could have given a serious thought to the points raised by the civil society representatives while preparing the draft Lokpal bill, even though Parliament is the supreme authority to enact laws. Mr. Hazare is a well-known Gandhian who has fought for the elimination of corruption and successfully garnered people's support. It is strange that the government failed to read people's mood. The tendency of MPs to impose their views on people is worrying.
S. Raghavendra Rao,
The editorial rightly says that the anti-corruption movement does not depend on one man or his team. People have for long wanted someone to take the initiative to represent their cause and, today, it is Anna Hazare. They don't have faith in any political party. Mr. Hazare is not after power or fame. He is just projecting the nation's pulse. Those in power should take stock of the atmosphere and public mood, and stop suppressing people's democratic rights. Hasty action and hasty retreat will not help. Congress spokespersons should bear in mind that they are not confronting political parties but the masses, who are against not the Congress but corruption.
I do not subscribe to the view that we got our independence through non-violent fast-unto-death means. However, the Congress made us believe so all along. And when a couple of gentlemen resorted to the much venerated method, it hounded them out. All that Mr. Hazare is asking for is a strong and potent anti-corruption bill. How can this be treated as circumventing Parliament?
True, Parliament has the sole power to enact laws. But when the law is intended to curb corruption in public life, there is no harm in letting civil society contribute to it. Members of Parliament are elected by us — they do not descend from the sky. The UPA government, one of the most corrupt governments, can regain some credibility by passing the Jan Lokpal bill.
J. Rocheus Sukanya,
That Mr. Hazare's protest for an effective Lokpal bill has gained momentum shows that people throughout the country want tough laws against corruption. His arrest was a reflection of the government's authoritarian nature and its fear of facing the truth. If the UPA government refuses to read the writing on the wall, it will learn a bitter lesson. Those in power should understand that they are elected only for a short period of time. The real power rests with people.
Fr. Antony Pancras,
It is clear that the police imposed impossible conditions to stop Mr. Hazare from going ahead with his protest. Is the government for upholding democracy or suppressing people's struggles? Is it genuinely interested in passing the Lokpal bill? History shows that suppression of people leads to a change in rulers.
The massive support to Mr. Hazare's movement clearly shows an awakening in society against corruption. Politicians are obviously alarmed.
Mr. Hazare's refusal to leave the Tihar jail until he is assured that he would be free to go ahead with his planned protest shows his determination to succeed. I am reminded of Colonel Nicholson in the David Lean classic, The Bridge in the River Kwai. Determined to uphold the Geneva Convention that exempts captured military officers from manual labour, Nicholson, even after being locked into ‘the oven' without food or water, refuses to budge from his stand. He even turns down offers of freedom from the Japanese. After a week of starvation in ‘the oven,' Nicholson, unbroken in mind and spirit, succeeds in securing the freedom of his comrades from doing manual work.