‘Communal forces can’t hijack anti-graft campaign`

Social activist Swami Agnivesh said communal forces and political vested interests would not be allowed to `hijack` the anti-corruption movement.

Kochi: Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Friday
said communal forces and political vested interests would not
be allowed to `hijack` the anti-corruption movement by the
civil society led by Anna Hazare.

"We cannot have truck with any communal forces. We
cannot allow communal forces and political vested interests to
hijack our movement," he told a meet-the-press programme
organised by Ernakulam Press club here.

Asked if yoga guru Baba Ramdev`s credibility had taken a
beating after the Ram Lila grounds incident where he tried to
escape police action by hiding behind his followers and women,
Agnivesh said Ramdev had committed some mistakes but the Team
Anna has no connection with him.

"The movement by Baba Ramdev was not properly
articulated. When he decided to run away, making people human
shields, changed into women`s clothes ... That was very
unfortunate. If he has any truth in his movement, he should
repent and admit publicly that he had committed a big
mistake," Agnivesh said.

"We are asking for a Lokpal independent of the
government. Prime Minister`s office, judges of High Courts and
Supreme Courts and Chief Justices and conduct of MPs should
all form part of the Lokpal bill," he said.

Stating that Team Anna was not out to destablise the
country, he pointed out that former Prime Ministers Rajiv
Gandhi and Narasimha Rao were investigated, but that nothing
had come out of those probes.

Agnivesh said there should be Lokpal as independent as
the Supreme Court, Chief Election Commissioner and CAG. "These
are independent agencies and we are seeking the same status
for Lokpal, nothing more or nothing less," he said.

He congratulated the government for improving their
original draft, but said it was not yet satisfactory and
suggested a provision to protect whistleblowers be included.

He said civil rights activists would organise various
activities from August 9-15 and observe August 9 as `quit
corruption` day.


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