Anna Hazare describes his fast, a second ‘freedom struggle’

April 7th, 2011 - 1:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Apr 7(ANI): Social activist Anna Hazare, whose fast-unto-death demanding a more stringent anti-corruption law, entered its third day on Thursday, described it as a second freedom struggle for the country. He said the nation must be freed from the grip of corruption.

Addressing media here, Hazare said: “I have been doing this for several years and people even paid supari to kill me. I am fighting 12 court cases and there are lawyers who are fighting for me for no money. We should never give up on truth.”

He said he was fine except for “slight weakness” and could carry on for at least another week.

Recalling the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru, Hazare said: “People accuse me of joining hands with the BJP. They have forgotten the sacrifices of Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru. I have kept their sacrifices close to my heart, and so, I’m not scared of dying.”

Responding to the Congress party’s criticism that his protest was “premature”, Hazare said: “Yesterday, a Congress spokesperson said that going on fast is a wrong path. I don’t think he was born when Gandhiji went on fast. The hunger strike is used as a last resort.”

Anna also apologized to Uma Bharti for being stopped from entering the dharna venue at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

Seventy-two-year-old Hazare’s protest has led to the resignation of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar from the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, yesterday discussed the issue with some of his Cabinet colleagues, and it was decided that one or two ministers could be nominated to talk to Hazare.

In 1995, Hazare’s campaign led to exit of two Maharashtra state Cabinet Ministers, who were labelled corrupt by him, and the Sena-BJP government was forced to drop them.

Hazare did not spare the Congress-NCP regime either and in 2003, went on hunger strike against four ministers, Sureshdada Jain, Nawab Malik, Vijaykumar Gavit and Padamsinh Patil, alleging they indulged in massive corruption.

He also initiated a campaign for a legislation on the right to information. Hazare’s persistent attack against corruption also earned him foes. In 2009, two persons arrested for killing Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar said there was a contract given out to kill the Magsaysay Award winner.

The Lokpal Bill (Ombudsman Bill), 2010, which awaits a select parliamentary committee’s nod, provides for filing complaints of corruption against the Prime Minister, ministers and lawmakers.

Hazare contended that the Lokpal Bill in its present form is useless and has drafted a separate Jan Lokpal bill (Public Ombudsman Bill), taking into account the views and suggestions from civil society and common people.

Hazare is a member of the ‘India Against Corruption’, an NGO that includes several eminent social activists including Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh. (ANI)

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