Social crusader Anna Hazare, who has launched a “maun vrat” seeking safety of women in the country and immediate execution of the 2012 Delhi gangrape convicts, has drawn little attention from the state government, social activists or even politicians.
Hazare’s “maun vrat” (vow of silence) entered sixth day at his native Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district on Wednesday. Except for students, who come as part of their excursion to see watershed conservation work done by the activist, no top government official or politician has turned up to make an assurance, his close aides said. “Even district officials have failed to turn up,” he said.
When contacted, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said since issues Anna has raised related to the central government, he should have undertaken the “maun vrat” in New Delhi. “The issues Anna has raised does not concern state government and therefore state officials must have stayed away. I think he is trying to draw the central government’s attention to the issues he has raised. He has also written a letter to the Prime Minister…the Centre should respond,” said Raut.
RTI activist Maruti Bhapkar said not just government or political leaders, even activists are staying away from Anna Hazare. “This is because for last five years, Anna did not agitate against the wrongdoings of the central government or the state government headed by Devendra Fadnavis. Social activists across the state are upset with Anna, his credibility has hit a new low,” he alleged.
Bhapkar who has worked closely with Hazare, however, said the issues raised by Hazare are “very serious” and if the government, be it state or Centre, are not paying heed, it shows their lack of seriousness. “And that is the reason women continue to be the target across the country. Anna is doing the right thing by drawing the country’s attention. Now that he has taken the initiative, we will soon be joining him,” Bhapkar said.
On December 9, Anna had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inform him that he would observe a “maun vrat” from December 20 to seek speedy justice for the December 2012 gangrape and murder victim and in cases of heinous crimes, and press for safety of women in the country.
Speaking to this paper in Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare had said that if speedy justice is not delivered, he will start an indefinite fast. In the letter, Anna had pointed out that the delay in justice was causing people to lose faith in the judiciary. He had said no rapist had been hanged since August 14, 2005, and 426 convicts were on death row.
Anna also said that since becoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has ignored him. “I have written 32 letters to him, but he has not bothered to reply,” he said.
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