18 April 2011
The recent hunger strike by Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar on the subject of Lokpal legislation has evoked a broad and meaningful debate on the nature of corruption in contemporary India. A good part of this debate has drawn reasoned disagreements among thoughtful citizens with respect both to how the reality of corruption ought to be conceptualized and approached, and to the nature of the support-base that Anna Hazare drew to the cause.
Sadly, the event has also been marred by political wranglings of a low order. Suddenly, the night before the first meeting of the newly constituted drafting committee was due to meet, a CD came to surface, making allegations of some underhand conversations between Shri Shanti Bhushan, co-convenor of the DC, and some leaders of the Samajwadi Party. Clearly, too much of a coincidence this.
Shanti Bhushan ji has promptly filed an FIR in the matter, and sought prompt investigation into what he is convinced is a scurrilous attempt to undermine the whole initiative on the Lokpal legislation, as well as the proceedings and likely results of the Committee’s deliberations.
We, the undersigned, believe with Shanti Bhushan ji that the matter is too vital to be either brushed under the carpet or made a convenient tool to malign Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan, two civil society campaigners whose record in addressing issues of grave public importance and whose probity, to the best of our knowledge, have been exemplary.
We, therefore, urge upon the investigative agencies to go into this matter without fear or favour, and to bring the truth before the country. Should the CD be found upon thorough scientific investigation to be found a forgery, or a piece of spliced calumny, the conspirators in the case must receive the severest penalty under the law. We believe the government of the day needs to understand that its own credibility is grievously at stake.
1. Badri Raina, columnist
2. Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM
3. Anand Patwardhan, documentary filmmaker
4. Jai Sen, CACIM
5. Dunu Roy, environmental activist, Delhi
6. Anil Sadgopal, All India Forum for Right to Education
7. Motilal Raina, Prof. Emeritus, Punjab Univ., Chandigarh
8. Hiren Gohain, senior academician, Guwahati
9. Jyoti Punwani, columnist
10. Pranay Krishna, General Secretary, Jan Sanskriti Manch
11. Nandita Narain, St Stephen’s College, DU
12. Suhas Kolhekar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM
13. Sandeep, President, All India Students’ Association (AISA)
14. Kalpana Mehta, Saheli
15. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA
16. Ranjana Padhi, feminist activist
17. Rohan D’Souza, Asst. Professor, JNU
18. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai
19. Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity) Mumbai
20. Meena Menon, Focus India
21. Shalini Gera, Delhi
22. Mahtab Alam, civil rights activist and independent journalist
23. Kiran Shaheen, journalist and activist
24. Sadanand Patwardhan, Pune
25. Anuradha Ramanujam, New Delhi
26. Preeti Chauhan, Laxmibai College, DU
27. Radhika Menon, Mata Sundri College, DU
28. Ratna Raman
29. Arunesh Maiyar