Updated: August 23, 2021 9:57:28 am
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare on Sunday said his agitations or andolans to get justice for citizens of the country have not stopped and will not stop. “But I have never agitated just because someone wanted me to do so…I have always held agitations in the larger interest of the people of this country and will continue to do so,” Hazare told The Indian Express.
The crusader’s reaction came after activists in Pune, in a letter written to him, sought to know why he was keeping quiet when PM Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was “taking anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-people decisions”. The activists under the banner of Desh Bachao Jan Andalon Samiti had sought to know from Hazare as to why he was keeping quiet and not holding agitations like he did during the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) regime.
Hazare said, “I have written 46 letters to the Modi government but have not received any response. When I held my latest andolan a few months back, the Union Government sent its ministers and promised to take up the issues raised by me. As a result, the government immediately announced Rs 2,000 pension to farmers and even deposited the amount in their accounts.” As of now, Hazare said due to the Covid-19 restrictions, he has not been able to hold the agitations in the larger public interest.
Hazare’s secretary Sanjay Patde said, “Anna has spent a lifetime agitating to secure justice for the people. He has held agitations for 50 years of his life and spent over a decade in the Indian Army. He has always remained upfront when it came to serving the people of this country.”
Patde said those who are calling for holding agitation against Anna are trying to defame the crusader and his movement. “These people are asking an elderly citizen at 85 to agitate…Can they do the same with the elders in their homes? Why is it necessary that all agitations should be taken up by Anna only? Why can’t these activists themselves lead from the front and show the way to other citizens of this country?” he asked, while asking the activists to do self-introspection.
Activist Maruti Bhapkar, one of those seeking answers from Hazare under the banner of Desh Bachao Jan Andalon Samiti, said, “We are not asking Anna to lead an agitation. We are asking him as to why he is keeping quiet and is not as vocal as he was during the UPA regime. Why is Anna not asking questions of the BJP government? Anna is a highly respected figure. If he writes a letter or raises a point, the government responds. That is what we are asking him to do. He has been keeping silent for long and this is happening more during the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime.”
Bhapkar said, “Farmers have been agitating against the Central government’s laws for over eight months. The government has done away with 44 laws related to the workers. Unemployment has reached a new high and so has inflation. Yet, we don’t see Anna raising his voice against these ills. Last time, Anna announced his agitation, the Centre send its ministers to meet him. After the meeting, Anna called off his agitation. We suspect he is in favour of the government, which is working against the interest of the farmers and people of this country. And therefore, it is imperative for Anna to come forward and set the record straight.”
Advocate Ravindra Ransingh, president of the samiti, said, “Despite the Central government enacting anti-farmer and anti-worker laws, and not being able to control rising unemployment, inflation and fuel prices, Hazare has not spoken a word. The people of this country are being harassed by the Modi government and in such a situation, a crusader like Hazare should not keep quiet. He should take a stand and make it known to the people,” he said, adding that otherwise they would be forced to hold agitations in Ralegan Siddhi, where Anna lives.
Bhapkar said, “Several activists had participated in 2011 agitation for freeing the country from corruption and UPA rule. However, now the country has gone in the wrong hands. Anna should not turn a blind eye towards this murky scenario. We want Anna to announce his stand, lead the agitation on the issue of farmers and workers, and seek answers from the Central government.”
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