Shield whistleblowers, Anna Hazare tells Centre

Shield whistleblowers, Anna Hazare tells Centre

Says govt should go if Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed by 2014

Shield whistleblowers, Anna Hazare tells Centre

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare was back in action after a short bout of illness and made a public address here on Sunday. He said  the UPA government at the Centre was insensitive and negligent of guaranteeing protection to whistleblowers.

The government was insensitive in listening to the voice of the country’s citizens and it was not providing the required support to whistleblowers fighting against corruption, he said.

Hazare sat on a daylong fast undertaken to call for the protection of whistle-blowers and demand the inclusion of a strong whistleblower law as part of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

“The government does not have any intention or political will to bring a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. However, we will not relent and will keep fighting. The government should introduce the Bill or go in 2014,” the 74-year-old said, while addressing his supporters after ending the fast at Jantar Mantar.

“We will have to bring real democracy in the country by ensuring the rights of the common people who are supreme and send their representatives to Parliament and state legislatures. We have to put pressure on the government," he added.

If the Jan Lokpal Bill was in force, no one would have dared to kill anyone like IPS officer Narender Kumar, Nadeem Syed, a social worker who was a witness and RTI campaigner in Gujarat riots or Yashwant Sonawane, an additional commissioner who complained against the oil adulteration mafia in Maharashtra.

“There are whistleblower-related death cases which the government has not attended to or resolved for years. Their (victims’) mothers, children, fathers and wives are crying for justice, but the government has gone dumb and deaf. It is not listening to the cries of people," Hazare said.

He said the Bill would protect whistle-blowers and provide speedy justice to those who were targeted for exposing corrupt practices.

“Team Anna activists will travel across the country and tell people that the government's version of the bill is useless. India has been a republic - rule of the people - since January 26, 1950. We have been celebrating it everywhere for the past 63 years, but where is the power, it is in Delhi and Mumbai. I tell people that till they have power, India can't be a republic," Hazare said.

It was the first hunger-strike undertaken by the 74-year-old after he called off his three-day fast for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill in Mumbai last December, owing to failing health.

Sunday’s fast came two days after an inconclusive all-party meeting on the Bill at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence.

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