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Hazare's protest over Lokpal Bill unjustified, says Chidambaram

August 12, 2011 - New Delhi

Terming Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger-strike from August 16 to protest the version of the Lokpal Bill drafted by the government to be unjustified, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday requested the veteran social activist to call of his fast.

"Everyone has a right to protest. But the context and circumstance decide whether the protest is legitimate or not. When there was no Lokpal Bill, the protest was justified. But now that there is a bill in Parliament, and the standing committee have asked Anna Hazare to testify, the protest, at this stage seems to be unjustified," said Chidambaram at a Group of Ministers (GoM) briefing here.

Delhi Police has suggested to the civil society activists to hold their fast at the Jayaprakash Narayan National Park, which is close to the Ferozeshah Kotla Grounds. Anna Hazare was earlier denied permission to hold his fast at the Jantar Mantar citing law and order situation.

"Anna's is not a special case. Jantar Mantar cannot be given for long protests, or to one group alone. As there are many other people with causes, the day has to be divided and the group given slots," said Chidambaram over Hazare not being allowed to protest at the Jantar Mantar.

The much-debated Lokpal Bill, which aims to set up an anti-corruption watchdog in the country, was tabled in the Lok Sabha on August 4.

Hazare and his supporters, however, burnt copies of the Lokpal Bill in several cities later, claiming that the anti-corruption legislation tabled in its present form in Parliament, would not be able to deal with corruption.

The proposed legislation introduced in the Lok Sabha doesn't cover the Prime Minister within the purview of the ombudsman during his or her term in office. But once the Prime Minister demits the office, he or she may be investigated for any wrongdoing during the term.


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