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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Jammu shows solidarity with Hazare

Schoolboys hold a placard in support of anti-corruption activist Anna
 Hazare during a protest against corruption in Jammu on Saturday.

Even as Jammu showed solidarity with social activist Anna Hazare through rallies and demonstrations in the last five days, Kashmir continues to remain aloof of the crusade.

People gathered in small numbers in many areas of Jammu city, and in neighbouring towns and villages, to show support for Mr. Hazare's crusade against corruption.

The demonstrations saw the participation of social activists, students, professionals and traders.

Sangarsh RTI Movement leader Balvinder Singh said rallies would be organised here on Tuesday and Thursday under the banner of “India Against Corruption”.

In the Kashmir Valley, in contrast, there have been no rallies or demonstrations in support of Mr. Hazare. Analysts give varied reasons for this.

Political scientist Gull Mohammad Wani says the Indian civil society has by and large failed to “own any empathies with Kashmiris — particularly in the last 20 years.” “Hazare and his associates are not known to Kashmiris the way Jayprakash Narayan and Mridula Sarabhai are. They had supported the people of Kashmir in crucial political times.”

Convenor of Jammu and Kashmir RTI Movement Muzaffar Bhat, however, says that the Lokpal was irrelevant to the State as it could not be implemented here on account of Article 370.

Hard-line Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said, “The efforts by Hazare are futile and meaningless. The campaign launched by him depicts the amount of corruption in India. However, his campaign and the proposed measures to curb corruption are futile and meaningless until there exists a strong and powerful body that holds everybody accountable.” To bring about a change, he said, there needed to be a nationwide overhaul of conscience. “Until then such efforts will not bear any fruits.”

His counterpart in the moderate camp Mirwaiz Umar Farooq praised Mr. Hazare and his crusade against graft.

“An old man in India has waged a war against corruption and loot. In Jammu and Kashmir, where we are facing repression, we do not lag behind in corruption,” he said.


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