Saturday, August 6, 2011

Burn government's Lokpal Bill: Team Anna to people

Ghaziabad, Aug 4: Gandhian Anna Hazare's protest against the present Lokpal Bill today reached the next level when civil society representatives urged all citizens to burn its copies to show their anguish against the "anti-poor" draft.

Today when the Lokpal Bill was tabled in Parliament, on the one hand Mr Hazare burnt its copies in Pune while on the other his team members -- Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan -- appealed to people here to follow the same.

"The government is forcing its version of the Bill on us. It is not serious about the institution of Lokpal. We challenge the authority by burning their copies of the draft," Mr Kejriwal said, addressing mediapersons.

He stressed that the main issue of contention between the government and the civil society is that the present version does not incorporate any measures against corruption at lower levels.

"The common man today has to face corruption at Panchayati level, 'rashan' shops, municipal corporations, government medicine outlets, to name a few. But all such issues are out of this version," he said. The team also burnt the copies here.

Mr Bhushan called the present version "useless" and said it will cause confusion and discourage the common man from complaining against corruption.

"The present Lokpal bill is not drafted to deal with corruption at all. In fact, it will deter people who want to complain against corruption," Mr Bhushan, who had drafted the civil society's version of the Lokpal Bill, said.

Mr Bhsuhan noted that there is "too much confusion" in the jurisdiction of the Lokpal and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and said a common man would not know whom to approach if he wants to complain against any scam.

"We have spoken to some political parties and are appealing to oppose the introduction of such a useless bill in Parliament. Even if they cannot oppose that, they should pressurise the government to bring a fresh bill which is structurally sound," he said.

One of the main points of differences between the government and the civil society is the inclusion of Prime Minister within the ambit of Lokpal. The proposed legislation does not bring the Prime Minister under the purview of the Lokpal during his term in office but once he demits office, he may be investigated for any wrongdoing during his term.

It also excludes the judiciary and any action of an MP inside Parliament or Parliamentary committee.

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