Hazare threatens to protest again


New Delhi : Veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare Thursday attacked the government for not being serious about ridding the country of corruption and threatened to agitate again if a strong Lokpal bill was not passed to check corruption in the country.

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“A corruption-free India is not in the mind of the government. We will continue working for the society. So, no giving up,” Hazare, 74, told reporters here.

He was speaking a day after civil society activists met government representatives to thrash out the key issues in drafting the Lokpal bill. The meeting ended on a bitter note as there was no consensus, and a decision was taken that both the sides would present their versions of the bill to the cabinet.

“If they bring a wrong bill, there will certainly be agitation,” he said. “We will have to start a Jantar Mantar-kind of agitation again. The government is moving away from its commitments.”

In April, Hazare sat on an indefinite hunger strike to press the government for a strong Lokpal bill, which envisages bringing the prime minister, judges and bureaucrats under its purview. The government had to bow to the demand after seeing the mass movement and formed a 10-member drafting committee to thrash out the finer details of the bill.

“The people are understanding that if there are two drafts being made, then why a joint committee. It is just a strategy of the government. They have wasted time for the last three months,” he added.

“Bringing in Lokpal bill is not in the government’s mind. We are not getting any personal benefit from this. What is the point of having such a draft that cannot help India get rid of corruption,” Hazare, who celebrated his birthday in New Delhi quietly Wednesday, said.

“The government is not willing to punish the corrupt people,” he said.