The unprecedented advice of Delhi Police to Anna Hazare for holding his protest against the government draft of Lokpal Bill outside Delhi or reveal the time duration of the movement, is not only objectionable but also undemocratic. According to the restrictions imposed by the Delhi Police, the permission can only be granted for a day’s protest in areas nearby the Parliament especially Jantar-Mantar on the condition that the turnout does not exceed 2,000 in number. Under such scenario, it is surprising to say the least that the Delhi Police have not come up with suggestions on the type of slogans to be raised in the protest. The resolute approach of Delhi Police clearly indicates that the Home Ministry is up in arms against the holding of any protest near the Parliament. Therefore, the Delhi Police have been quick to take the cover of the Supreme Court order which forbids any indefinite protest near the Parliament premises during a session. If the Supreme Court has given an order in this context, the reference should be made clear because the Judiciary has also reprimanded the Delhi Police for misuse of the Section 144 of CrPC.  Going by the recent developments, it is virtually impossible to believe that the Delhi Police are not acting on the behest of Home Ministry. The advice rendered by the Delhi Police to Hazare is a reflection of the Government’s nervousness. It seems ridiculous that on one end the government representatives claim of not being bothered by Anna’s protest, but simultaneously they are making desperate effort to prevent him from staging the protest.

Does the Union Government realise that it’s draft on the Lokpal Bill will fail to meet the high expectations of people? If it is not so and the government has prepared an effective and strong draft, where is the need of creating hurdles in the path of Anna? Irrespective of all tall claims made by the Union Government, the bitter reality is that it has taken only a small step against corruption. Though this step holds some importance, if Anna and his team are not satisfied with it, they enjoy the right to express their annoyance in a democratic manner. It is unfortunate that at a time when the government should be safeguarding this right, it has opted for police action to stop Anna. This move can only draw flak from all corners. The Centre should not remain under wrong impression of quashing Anna’s protest through the same method which it had adopted for Ramdev’s movement. This is likely to lead to strong repercussions. Though the Union Government may not be in favour of the demands of Anna Hazare in the Lokpal Bill, it cannot take the liberty to suppress the voices raised over the issue.  If the Centre does not like to become a partner in the disrepute, then making efforts to prevent Anna Hazare from the protest, it should try to fathom the reasons behind the lackluster response of people towards the government draft on the Lokpal Bill.

(JPN)