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Monday, 22 August 2011

Anna shocker: Aruna Roy’s NGO loses its Pune man

The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI), led by social activist Aruna Roy, suffered a setback on Sunday for its stand against the manner in which the veteran Gandhian, Anna Hazare, is leading his crusade against corruption.

Apparently taking serious note of the views of Roy
on Hazare, the Pune-based campaign committee member of NCPRI, Major General (retd) SCN Jatar, resigned from the post. He is peeved that NCPRI has taken a stand on Hazare without consulting its members.

NCPRI is a platform of individuals and organisa-tions committed to making the Indian government and society more transparent
and accountable.

Roy, along with other NCPRI members like Nikhil Dey, Harsh Mander and Shekhar Singh, said on Saturday in New Delhi that it had strong reservations about the methods adopted by Team Anna in its crusade to ensure that the Union government table the Jan Lokpal Bill.

They also disagreed with the provisions of Jan Lokpal Bill and objected to the ultimatums given from Ramlila Maidan, where Anna Hazare has undertaken satyagraha.

The NGO presented its own version of the Lokpal Bill.

Anguished with NCPRI’s public stand Jatar, who is a member of the NCPRI campaign committee since March 2005, wrote to Shekhar Singh on Sunday.

“The NCPRI has taken a stand on the Jan Lokpal Bill without consulting its members and seeking their suggestions,” an anguished Jatar stated in his letter.

“We find that the NCPRI is silent on at least three key issues: whether the Lokpal would report to the government, whether it will have investigative agencies under it, and whether all elected representatives and the bureaucracy would come under the Lokpal. It is also silent on administrative and electoral reforms.”

Taking exception to the statement by an NCPRI member that “Annaji is ill-advised” and for imposing his (Anna’s) views on the issue, a disgruntled Jatar said, “It is axiomatic that all activists and NGOs would like that and say so. Why pick on an agitation, which has tremendous public support only because successive governments and most NGOs have done nothing to eliminate corruption, nay encouraged it?”

According to him even the objective of the RTI Act, 2005, for which a lot of the NGOs and councils take credit, defines its objectives as, “...empower citizens, promote transparency & accountability and contain corruption”.

There is no will to eliminate corruption but only to contain it at its current

horrific levels, observed Jatar. “Obviously, people will take to the streets and grab whatever is thrown at them to eliminate corruption,” he added.
He said the NCPRI should have consulted all its members before finalising its strategy.

“We sent comments on the Jan Lokpal Bill on July 6. However, we did not receive any response. We also did not get a copy of the NCPRI’s Lok Pal Bill,” he pointed out in his letter.


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