Thousands join anti-graft march in capital (Lead)

January 30th, 2011 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Thousands of people marched in the national capital Sunday, raising their voice against corruption. The rallyists rejected the union government’s Lokpal bill and demanded it replace it with people’s version of the draft legislation to curb graft. “Our politicians should wake up and and learn the lesson from what is happening in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt. The peoples of those counties were fed up by corruption and inflation,” noted activist Swami Agnivesh told the protestors.

“The people of India are also tired of facing corrupt leaders, and politicians will now have to face public agitations,” he added.

Mahmood Madani, member of the Rajya Sabha and a prominent Muslim leader, said: “There is no difference between corrupt people and terrorists.”

Former law minister Shanti Bhusan, social activist Medha Patkar, former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani were among those who addressed the protestors.

People holding banners that read “Corruption: Enough is enough” and “Common people are raped in government offices” gathered at Ramlila Ground from where they marched to the 18th century Jantar Mantar observatory in central Delhi.

The rally coincided with Martyrs’ Day, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The march was part of the movement “India against Corruption” being run by some social organisations demanding passage of the their re-drafted Lokpal bill during the budget session of parliament.

Some eminent persons came together and drafted an anti-corruption law which seeks to create an independent, empowered, transparent and accountable anti-corruption agency called Lokpal.

“The Lokpal bill prepared by the public is so effective that it will eradicate corruption in next two-three years. Political parties should support for passage of this bill as the Lokpal suggested by the government is only a showpiece,” eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan said while addressing the rally here.

People from various walks of life took part in the march.

“We need a powerful body to fight the war against corruption,” said Anjali Singh, a final year medical student at Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi.

According to Vidit Gupta, a software engineer in Delhi, “This is only the beginning, the government must realise the power of the people.”

“It is the duty of the government to ensure the end of corruption in our country,” Sunil Patel, an engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

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