Dalits, minorities open anti-Anna front

Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement today faced its first “civil society” challenge as representatives from backward communities and minorities opened a parallel front to denounce the ongoing movement as anti-Constitutional and upper-caste.They will all come together under the banner of All India Confederation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes Organisations tomorrow to hold “Save the Constitution” rally from India Gate to Jantar Mantar. Their principal objective is to consolidate OBCs, dalits and Muslims against the Anna campaign and demand a Bahujan Lokpal Bill, which will be the fourth draft of the controversial bill after the ones presented by the government, the Team Anna and the National Advisory Council.

“Anna movement has no representation of dalits, OBCs and minorities. Their leadership is upper caste and is attempting to change the Constitution written by Dr B.R.Ambedkar who had called Satyagrahs and fasts unconstitutional. Tomorrow Anna can call for an end to reservations. His supporter Arvind Kejriwal is from Youth for Equality which is anti-reservation. We won’t let this happen,” Udit Raj, National President of the Confederation said today.

The Confederation is working on the “Bahujan Lokpal Bill” which it will send to the Abhishek Manu Singhvi-led Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, the custodian of the Lokpal Bill. The proposed Bill will keep the PM outside the Lokpal ambit and will seek a representative character for the institution. This version will call for coverage of NGOs and industrialists under the Lokpal. On judiciary's inclusion, the debate is still on within the community.

The confederation leaders said they did not support the government draft but clarified that they did not favour inclusion of the PM under the Lokpal either.

Meanwhile, Muslims are planning a rally on September 5. Imam Bukhari of Jama Masjid, who has questioned Anna’s movement, may participate in the tomorrow’s Dalit rally. M.J. Khan, general secretary of Peace Party, who is consolidating the minorities, claimed that intellectual Muslim were against the Anna Hazare movement as it was “irrational”.

The confederation also slammed the government for bucking under the civil society pressure to involve a select group of leaders to draft the proposed law. “The government went out of its way to accommodate Anna and then Ramdev. What we are witnessing is a result of that,” said Raj.

Asked why they had woken up so late in the day to demand a Bahujan Lokpal Bill, Raj said they were “alarmed” at the quantum of support for Anna and apprehensive of losing out in the end game if they continued to be mute spectators.


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