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Jan Lokpal Bill movement - India's fight against corruption

With the economic policies and the way of governance marked by Nehruvian socialism from 1947-1980s, the growth of India's economic sectors were slow and the development of the country pulled back by it. One of the major problems that was eating away at the very root of India's development was its endemic corruption. Corrupt politicians ruining the entire  political system, criminals and rogues occupying the important political and miliatry positions, criminals enjoying the support of corrupt of politicians negatively impacting the country. The RTI act, 2005 couldnot be very effective at tackling the corruption, though it intended to provide the citizens the right to request information from public funtionaries.

The movement for the passing for the jan lokapl bill, that would ensure the office of the Indian ombudsman at the national and state level, gained momentum only during 2011 mass protests under the leadership of Gandhian activist, Anna Hazare. After the rejection of his proposal to form a joint commitee to draft the anti corruption bill comprisong both civil society members and government officials, Hazare began a hunger strike on April 5, 2011 which attracted support from various political partiesand national and international fora. Later a commitee was setup with politicain chairman, Pranab Mukherjee heading it. On 16 april, the first meeting of the lokapl bill drafting committee was held. After the ratification of the UN Convention against corruption, yoga guru, Ramdev launched Bharat Swabhiman Andolan,an anti corruption movement supporting Hazare's fight for the lokpal bill.

A massive protest was organised by him in the Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi on June 4, 2011 demanding the recovery of the black money from foreign banks. With a participatio of 100 million people, the protest was a success. However on 5th june the Delhi police raided the area and detained Ramdv and his supporters on the ground thta they had no legal permission for holding the protest movement. Hazare held a one day hunger strike against the move of the delhi police. The National Human Rights Commission requestde for the detailed repors of the entireevent. Ramdev alleged that he had been threatened by senior members and accussed the government of trying to put the situation under wraps. Hazare remarked that the incident was a "blot on democracy". Arvind Kejriwal called the move a higly undemocratic one. The government said that the leaders of the movement were resorting to blackmail to make ends meet.

The Supreme Court held the Delhi police responsible for the eviction of the people from the maidan after an advocate filed a petition for the absence of a FIR with the police and the non existence of grounds of such eveiction.

Owing to the lack of consensus in the drafting committee, the government announced that two drafts of the bill would be sent to the cabinet. Hazare started a hungers strike from 16 august, 2011 rsenting the move of the government. The governnet imposed secton 144 at a few locations in Delhi and Hazare and his supporters of Team Anna was detained by the Delhi police. Hazare started a hunger strike inside the jail refusing to even take water. Hazare said that this markde the second freedom struggle  and launched the jail bharo campaign. Later he was released on 19 august. With the promise of initiation of the bill in the lok sabha by the Prime Minister hazare ended his fast. However the expected introduction of the bill never happened. Hazare scheduled a hunger strike from 27-29 dec but the turnout was low nad owing to his worsening health, the jail bharo movement was called off. The lok sabha debated the bill on 27th dec 2011 but the minimum two third MPs werenot prsent because of which the bill couldnot hte passed. Some form of protests were launched by the activists however subsequently the unity was compromised when Kejriwal and others split from Team Anna and formed the Aam Admi Party. Hazare later announced that since the negotiations with the governmnet had failed, the protest would be put to an end and talks with the government would be discontinued. Thus the lokpal bill, 2011 coulnot see the face of reality. 

  • existence of corruption in Indian political system
  • initiation of the protests in 2011
  • involvement of leaders like Anna Hazare

BY : Mekhla Chakraborty

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