NAPM Extends Support to Anti-Corruption Movement and Demand for an Effective Lokpal
Gives National Call to Join the struggle for Corruption-free India
August 14, New Delhi: Anna Hazare Ji and manyothers across India will be starting their fast from August 16th in Delhi demanding an effective Lokpal. NAPM supports the people’s movement for a corruption-free India and urges the citizens of the country to plunge into this struggle. NAPM, along with other organisations is holding relay fast, human chains, public meetings and other programmes, in Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Narmada Valley, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Mysore, Mou, Balia, Allahabad, Muzzafarnagar and other places. We urge our members and supporters to join this call and challenge the corrupt and defensive governments at the Centre and the states.
We strongly disapprove of the way in which government has been trying to put severe restrictions on holding peaceful protests in the capital, and Delhi Police under the garb of implementing the Supreme Court’s Guidelines is imposing unnecessary conditions on protests, as it did early this month on SANGHARSH anti-land acquisition protest, AISA-DYF anti-corruption protest and others.For an independent democratic country like ours, imposition and insistence on police permission and strict guidelines for holding peaceful protests and Sataygraha seems completely contradictory and only shows shrinking spaces for democratic freedom of expression and curb on fundamental rights of its citizens.
The public outrage at the scandal-a-day record of Governments of all political hues whether it is the Central Government or that of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar or others and the groundswell of support to concrete action culminating in the Lokpal debate is a welcome sign for our democracy. This is an opportune moment for effective systemic measures to deal with both ‘bhrashtachar’ and ‘atyachaar’ (corruption & oppression / systemic violence) at all levels. The powers-that-be (not just Governments but businesses, corporations and other entities too) must defer to public opinion, as people do not only have a ‘vote’ but also a ‘voice’. Governments cannot use the excuse that ‘being elected’; it is the only agency with legitimacy.
We are conscious that the campaign for an effective Lokpal against corruption is not a full and final solution to all that ails our country today. It should be viewed as part of an ongoing process that can be built upon by various groups using myriad democratic styles, strategies, issues and foci. The raising of consciousness can only benefit democratic processes and hopefully constructive engagement will broaden the agenda of the current campaign to include issues of governance, secularism and most important communities control over jal (water) jangal (forests), jameen (land), khanij (minerals) and of course, mehnat (hard work) of the toiling masses, who are the actual contributors to this nation’ s development .
We also recognize and re-stress the reality that it is this large section of the Indian population; the gareeb, shoshit, peedit, shramik that faces the brunt of corruption most, day in and day out, in their battle for survival with dignity and we need to reach out to them.We can’t limit corruption only in monetary terms, but deal with it in terms of the systemic oppression, inequity and inhumanity perpetuated by political and non-political entities all.We are of the strong view that the battle against corruption is located within the wider struggles against corporatization, capitalism, communalism, casteism, patriarchy, criminality and consumerism which are challenges that any well-meaning, truly democratic public platform must address.
NAPM along with many of its struggling comrades and supporters has been at the forefront of the struggle against corruption, exposing the fraud in rationing in Assam, rehabilitation in Narmada Valley, and irregularities in Lavasa or Adarsh Housing Society among many others. Our struggle is against the loot of natural wealth and human dignity by corporations and state under a destructive and completely unsustainable development paradigm.
We hold that the Lokpal bill drafted by the Government is toothless and defeats the very purpose it is meant for.We believe that any law to deal with corruption must be comprehensive and provide for expeditious action and deal with corruption not only at the higher executive level but also at mid and lower levels and bring in politicians and corporations too in its ambit. Action at this moment can help deepen our discourse and enlarge the scope of campaign to encompass issues such as governance, development planning from the grassroots, opposition to violent and oppressive development projects, secular ethos etc. The Lokpal Bill is with the Parliamentary Standing Committee and we appeal to the people of India to submit their opinions on the Bill, which will have to radically address many of the gaps in the present Government Draft.
NAPM calls upon the Government to pay heed to the diversity of voices and respect the evolving public opinion to introduce a series of fool-proof, effective anti-corruption measures and pass a strong Lokpal Bill, dealing with corruption at all levels, after holding participatory and wide-spread consultations. We also call upon the people of India to take forward this struggle against corruption in whatever democratic way possible, by respecting the plurality and diversity of the country.
Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Prafulla Samantara, Maj Gen Sudhir Vombatkere, Suniti S R, Sister Celia, P Chennaiah, Ramakrishna Raju, Suhas Kolhekar, Akhil Gogoi, Anand Mazgaonkar, Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar