Where does a victim of corruption go for redressal, ask citizens

August 16th, 2011 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) If there is no strong institution of Lokpal to register citizens’ complaints on corruption against official authority, high or low, how will the common man get redressal against the daily graft he or she has to face in life, asked a cross-section of citizens Tuesday as they spoke in support of Anna Hazare’s campaign for a stronger Lokpal than what is envisaged by the government.

Many also expressed outrage over the government’s “high-handedness” in the arrest of Hazare and his supporters.

“The arrest is atrocious. No one has ever taken on corruption; and it shows the deep rot in the system,” echoed residents of the national capital during a random survey by IANS.

Brij Mohan, a computer professional at a solutions firm in south Delhi, said “corruption in India was like a daily chore”.

“If one has to acquire a driving license, ration card and even a passport, one has to pay the government official concerned. The irony is that even after bribing the executives, the file takes at least two month to move before being cleared,” Brij Mohan told IANS.

“The private networks of touts which operate between the common man and the government may charge twice the amount, but deliver in 48 hours. Where do we go with our complaints,” he said.

“Yeh sarkari tana sahi hai - this is government dictatorship. Anna Hazare should not have been arrested because he has at least given voice to a concern no one has dared to address for at least 100 years. The Jan Lokpal Bill must keep the citizen’s woes as its core objective,” 70-year-old Raj Kumar, a daily wage labourer from Yusuf Sarai, said.

Anna Hazare, who has been campaigning for the last five months for a more stringent Jan Lokpal Bill, or a bill for a citizens’ ombudsman to deal with public corruption, was arrested Tuesday morning along with key members of his team including Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan.

Transport operator Kulwant Singh, demanded more “awareness about the clauses of the Jan Lokpal Bill and how it will help the common man”.

“Police, court, revenue offices… Nothing works in India unless one greases palms. The constitution of Lokpal may not end corruption; but it will make a difference. We will know where to go with our woes. I have to bribe rent officials every month to pay for the municipal vend that I work from; the amount adds to the rent and the bribe,” Singh laughed.

B.K. Jain, an entrepreneur from Patel Nagar in the capital, said “the Jan Lokpal Bill as Hazare and his team envisaged implied independence reinstated”.

“The white man had gone and returned the country to the people of India. But the common man had been suffering for the last 64 years of independence - nothing except the country’s status had changed. The Bill if it is implemented in its original form will determine the direction that the common man will head in independent India,” he said.

“It has to start somewhere,” he added.

The original draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill, as submitted by the Hazare team, proposes to bring the prime minister and the judiciary under the ambit of an ombudsman, which the government bill submitted to the parliament does not include.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in

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