August 16, 2011

[Also read: Lokpal Bill Simple Facts]


[Updated December 2011]

Abrupt End to Anna Hazare's three-day fast at MMRDA ground in Mumbai

Anna Hazare made a surprise announcement on Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011, of calling off his campaign to fill jails from Friday and ended his fast.
  • No reasons were given by the 74-year-old activist for the abrupt decisions
  • There was a poor public response to the three-day fast
  • Anna Hazare was also unwell and was earlier urged by his doctors to give up the fast. 
  • A girl from Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare's village, gave the activist a glass of juice to break the fast. 
  • Hazare also offered juice to his team members Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Mayank Gandhi. 
  • Anna's close aide Kejriwal said the fast was being called off keeping in mind the deteriorating health of Hazare and the way the "weak" Lokpal Bill was "bulldozed" through the Lok Sabha. 
  • "...Whatever we are seeing today in Parliament is tragic. So I have decided to call off the fast today. There is only one way now. We will make a programme in the five states and go and awaken people there. I will tell them don't vote for traitors," Hazare told a sparsely attended protest meeting
[Earlier]
The anti-corruption movement leader and social activist Anna Hazare began his three-day hunger strike on Tuesday Dec 27, 2011demanding a stronger version of the ombudsman (Lokpal) bill than the one being debated by Parliament.
  • Low turn-out of supporters marked the launch of Anna Hazare's three-day fast against the government's Lokpal bill which he described as "betrayal" of the people.
  • As 74-year-old Hazare sat on the fast at the MMRDA ground, the estimate of people at the venue varied between 4,000 to 10,000 in sharp contrast to upto 30,000-40,000 that poured in Ramlila Maidan in August.
  • Team Anna had said that they expected over a lakh people to turn up at the protest venue here. In Delhi too, a negligible number of protesters were at Ramlila Maidan.
  • Hazare, who is suffering from viral infection, reaffirmed his decision to campaign against the Congress in all the five election-bound states that includes Uttar Pradesh.
  • On the first day of the fast around 20 men blocked his convoy and showed him black flags. The convoy of Hazare, on way to Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Juhu beach, was briefly stopped by the protesters carrying black flags and national tricolour and shouting "Anna Hazare murdabad".
  • Team Anna has raised the pitch by pointing out "four non-negotiable" demands for calling off their jail bharo agitation which included provision for an independent investigating agency for the anti-corruption ombudsman.
  • In Mumbai, police have fortified the fast venue by deploying 2000 police constables and 200 sub-inspectors of police, six platoons of state reserve force, three Quick Response Team and two Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads.
  • Hazare's first hunger strike in April put Lokpal on the national agenda like never before.
  • He will start his 'Jail Bharo Andolan' from Dec 30 that will continue till Jan 1.
  • The online campaign of Anna Hazare's 'Jail Bharo Andolan' has received over a lakh registrations within three days of the launch
[Earlier]
Anna Hazare has to fight again... Why ?
  • To raise pitch on Lokpal issue, Anna Hazare is sitting on a day-long fast, this time protesting against "watered-down" proposals of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the anti-graft measure. 
  • In his trade-mark white kurta and Gandhi cap, 74 year old Anna Hazare sits at Jantar Mantar, the protest hotspot in the capital, surrounded by a number of supporters who waved the tri-colour, sporadically shouting slogans like 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. 
  • Along with Hazare, prominent members of Team Anna like Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas have joined the fast. 
  • This is Hazare's third protest on the issue and second at Jantar Mantar. 
    • The first one was a five-day fast from April 5 at Jantar Mantar when government had to set up a joint committee comprising official representatives and activists to draft the Lokpal Bill.
    • His second fast that lasted 13 days at Ramlila Maidan in August on the same issue, has been demanding bringing lower bureaucracy within the ambit of the Lokpal besides provisions for Citizen's Charter and setting up of Lokayuktas under a central law. The government as well as Standing Committee have rejected it. 
  • Hazare has threatened to go on an indefinite fast from December 27 at Ramlila Maidan if a strong Lokpal bill is not passed in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.
[Earlier]
ANNA HAZARE WINS AGAIN
Anna Hazare's 3 demands for the Lokpal Bill comprehensively discussed in Parliament, Resolution passed, to end fast tomorrow 10.00 AM - 27 Aug 2011
Anna Hazare campaign, Anna Hazare facts
  • Will end fast at 10.00 am tomorrow morning
  • Anna Hazare dedicates the win to people of India and activist, says only half way there.
  • Vilas Rao Deshmukh hands over the letter of PM to Anna Hazare at the Ramlila Ground, New Delhi
  • Resolution on Lokpal Bill passed
  • Expected voice vote did not happen
  • May end fast tomorrow morning
  • [earlier] Anna Hazare and Anna Team okay with the voice vote
  • [earlier] Voice vote to happen, Historic moment of fast breaking may happen today itself
  • [earlier] Misunderstandings change the mood, looks like fast may not end today 
  • [earlier] All parties broadly supporting the points
Anna Hazare LokPal Bill, Anti corruption campaign Latest Update - 25 Aug 2011
  • The government has agreed to begin a discussion on the Lokpal Bill in Parliament on Friday.
  • Anna Hazare's demand that Parliament should discuss from Friday three key issues on Jan Lokpal and create an agreement, failing which he will not end his fast. 
  • Hazare's 3 demands: 
    • Citizen's charter
    • Lokayuktas in all states with Lokpal powers 
    • Inclusion of lowest to highest bureaucracy.
Anna Hazare Hunger Strike Latest Update - 22 Aug 2011
Activist Anna Hazare had lost five kg of weight as he entered his seventh day of fast for a strong anti-corruption bill on Monday.
India Against Corruption Campaign Update - 21 Aug 2011:
The Anna Hazare camp on Sunday stepped up its campaign by demonstrating at the PM's residence and the Gandhian leader delivering a "Lokpal bill lao ya jao (bring Lokpal bill or go)" call. The campaign's escalation came on a day that saw crowd support for the protests swelling dramatically, with large turnouts at India Gate and Ramlila Maidan.
Anna Hazare Anti-corruption Campaign Updates
The deadlock between Anna Hazare and Delhi police over the duration of his anti-corruption protest has ended. Anna Hazare accepted the offer for 14 days of hunger strike beginning on Thursday at the Ramlila Maidan.
Earlier, Anna Hazare was detained this morning by the police in Delhi as he was about to set out for his fast in support of the Lokpal Bill.
Anna Hazare, Anti Corruption Campaign, Lokpal Bill, Hunger Strike
  • Around 250 of his supporters, including activist Arvind Kejriwal and former top cop Kiran Bedi, were also detained. 
  • Anna Hazare was arrested this morning from Supreme Enclave in Delhi's Mayur Vihar, minutes  before he was to begin his hunger strike at Jai Prakash Narain Memorial Park in Delhi. 
  • The 74-year-old Hazare, dressed in his trademark plain white shirt, white cap and spectacles in the style of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, was driven away in a white car by plainclothes police, waving to hundreds of supporters who had gathered outside his home. 
  • Hazare has become a serious challenge to the authority of the Congress party-led government in its second term as it reels from a string of corruption scandals and a perception that it is out of touch with millions of Indians hit by high food inflation. 
  • Anna Hazare Hazare is fronting the India Against Corruption campaign, which has pitted a group of civil society activists against the government over a new law intended to combat venality among politicians and bureaucrats.
  • The police say he has been taken into "preventive custody" and to safeguard against a law and order problem. 
  • Thousands of his supporters say they will court arrest.  
  • Opposition parties like the BJP and the Left have described the action against Mr Hazare as the violation of constitutional right to protest peacefully against the government. 
  • Anna Hazare had earlier been asked by the police to restrict his hunger strike to three days and to ensure that he did not draw a crowd larger than 5000 people. He rejected these pre-conditions. Most of them including Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi have also been arrested.
  • The government insists it is not encroaching upon citizens' fundamental rights by stopping the protest.  
  • Anna Hazare's team says the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill introduced in Parliament a few days ago by the government is weak and a "betrayal of India". The fact that the bill exempts the Prime Minister's Office has become a controversial point, not just among civil society activists but Opposition parties as well.
  • Both houses of parliament were adjourned after the opposition protested at the arrests of Hazare and key aides, which appeared to signal a hardening of the beleaguered prime minister's stance towards anti-government protests. 
  • The scandals, including a telecoms bribery scam that may have cost the government $39 billion, has smothered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reform agenda, dented investor confidence and distracted parliament just as the $1.6 trillion economy is being hit by inflation and higher interest rates. 
  • Police denied Hazare permission on Monday to fast near a cricket stadium because he had refused to end his fast in three days and ensure no more than 5,000 people took part. 
Interesting Facts about Anna Hazare's Life History and Campaigns / Movements
  • From a tenacious soldier to a social reformer, and a right to information crusader, Anna Hazare’s journey of four decades has been unprecedented in terms of a non-violent yet effective campaign of resurrecting a barren village into an `ideal village model and empowering the faceless citizen through pioneering work on Right to Information. 
  • His efforts to empower grampanchayats, protect efficient government officers from frequent transfers and fight against the red tapism in government offices have also received accolades.
  • Anna Hazare started a new venture in 1991 called Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Aandolan (BVJA) or public movement against corruption. It was found that some 42 forest officers had duped the state government for crores of rupees through corruption in confederacy. Hazare submitted the evidences to the government but the latter was reluctant to take action against all these officers as one of the ministers of the ruling party was involved in the scam. A distressed Hazare returned the Padmashree Award to the President of India and also returned the Vriksha Mitra Award given by then prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi. 
  • He further went on an indefinite hunger strike in Alandi on the same issue. Finally, the government woke up from deep slumber and took action against the culprits. Hazare’s sustained campaign on this issue had a great effect - six of the ministers were forced to resign and more than 400 officers from different government offices were sent back to home.
  • Hazare realized that it was not enough to merely take action against fraudulent ministers or officers but to change the entire system that was studded with loopholes. Hence, he campaigned for the Right to Information Act. The state government turned a blind eye towards the pleas in this regard and so he first agitated in the historical Azad Maidan in Mumbai in the year 1997. To create mass public awareness about RTI amongst the youth, Hazare traveled extensively throughout the state. The government kept promising that RTI Act would be made but never raised this issue in the house or the state assembly. Hazare did not relent ?he agitated at least ten times.
  • Finally, again he went on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan in the last week of July 2003. At last, the President of India signed the draft of the Right to Information Act after his 12-day-long hunger strike and ordered the state government to implement it with effect from 2002. The same draft was considered as the base document for the making of the National Right to Information Act-2005.
  • After the implementation of the RTI Act-2005, Hazare travelled for more than 12,000 Kms across the state creating awareness about the Act. In the second phase, he interacted with more than one lakh college students and also conducted mass public meetings across 24 districts of the state. The third phase included daily 2-3 public meetings in more than 155 tehsil places. In this massive campaign, posters, banners were displayed and more than one lakh booklets of the provisions of the Act were distributed at a nominal price.
  • This created enough of awareness and people were educated on the issue of rights of citizens.
  • Hazare deservedly won the coveted Padmashree and then Padmabhushan. Care International of the USA, Transparency International, Seoul (South Korea) also felicitated him. Apart from this, he received awards worth Rs 25 lakh and donated the entire amount for the Swami Vivekananda Kritadnyata Nidhi (social gratitude fund). Out of the two lakh rupees received from the above amount, mass marriages are carried of at least 25-30 poor couples every year.
  • The state government promoted opening of cooperative societies, credit societies & urban banks. Believing in the principles of cooperative sector, the utmost lower class of the society invested their savings with such cooperative societies. However, the directors of such societies devoured the money and failed to pay back the basic amount to the members of the societies. This created havoc and people were duped for crores of rupees and did not have money for the marriages of their daughters or for medical treatment. Hazare agitated for over eight months. The result was that more than Rs 125 crore was recovered from defaulters and the members of such societies heaved a sigh of relief. Recovery of around Rs. 400 crores is in the pipeline.
  • He once contemplated suicide and even wrote a two-page essay on why he wanted to end his life. Anna Hazare was not driven to such a pass by circumstances. He wanted to live no more because he was frustrated with life and wanted an answer to the purpose of human existence.The story goes that one day at the New Delhi Railway Station, he chanced upon a book on Swami Vivekananda. Drawn by Vivekananda's photograph, he is quoted as saying that he read the book and found his answer - that the motive of his life lay in service to his fellow humans.
  • Anna Hazare has has fought quite a number of battles, including some as a soldier for 15 years in Indian Army. He enlisted after the 1962 Indo-China war when the government exhorted young men to join the Army.
  • In 1978, he took voluntary retirement from the 9th Maratha Battalion and returned home to Ralegaon Siddhi, a village in Maharashtra's drought-prone Ahmadnagar. He was 39 years old.
  • Maharashtra stalwarts like Sharad Pawar and Bal Thackeray have often called his style of agitation nothing short of "blackmail".
  • In 1995-96, he forced the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra to drop two corrupt Cabinet Ministers. 
  • In 2003, he forced the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) state government to set up an investigation against four ministers.
  • In April this year, four days of fasting brought thousands of people out in support of his crusade against corruption. They also made the government realise it could not be dismissive about Anna Hazare and his mass appeal.  
  • The truce of April was short-lived. An exercise to set up a joint committee made up of equal numbers of government representatives and civil society activists, including Anna Hazare came to naught when the two sides failed to agree and drafted two different Lok Pal Bills. The government has brought its version in Parliament and Team Anna is livid. 
  • He fought from the front to have Right to Information (RTI) implemented. He is now fighting for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill, the anti-corruption bill drafted by his team of crusaders.
  • This year, more than 30 years after Anna Hazare started his crusade, as the 74-year-old plans a second hunger strike in Delhi against large-scale corruption at the national level. Nothing really has changed except the scale of his battle.
[Also read: Lokpal Bill Simple Facts]




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