New Delhi: Activist Anna Hazare meets today with his core group in Delhi to take stock of the team's hunger strike against corruption, which has completed a week. Anna, who is 75, joined the fast on Sunday. His aides like Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai, have not eaten for a week.
The Delhi Police has written to the activists reminding them that when the activists were given permission to hold their protest, they had agreed in writing to move to hospital if their health was in danger.
Doctors from the government-run RML Hospital say they must be moved to hospital immediately. But the activists have refused and have warned the government against trying to force-feed them. They say their own doctors have indicated that there's no urgent need for them to end their fast just yet.
Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said today "The government cannot be allowed to let people die without being called insensitive." He also said that the government should engage with the activists, but "not at gunpoint." About reports of the deteriorating health about those who're fasting, he said, "Nothing will happen" and pointed to the example of Irom Sharmila, the activist from Manipur who has been fasting for 11 years; she is regularly force-fed by the government via a drip.
Last August, Anna's health dipped precariously when he spent 16 days fasting in Delhi, a pressure tactic to force the government to work on new landmark legislation against corruption. The Prime Minister and others urged Anna formally to call off his strike; he agreed only when parliamentarians promised to urgently debate the Lokpal Bill, named for the new national ombudsman agency that it creates.
This time around, the government has decided not to intervene. Sources say no appeal will be made for the activists to end their fast. "Those that gave permission for the camp at Jantar Mantar will decide how to deal with issues like deteriorating health," said government sources, who also ruled out any backroom discussions with Anna and his aides.
Earlier this week, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy described the hunger strike to NDTV as "a drama."
Senior government sources who did not want to be named said that Anna's own team should take responsibility for the health of its members. They pointed out that the ruling coalition introduced the Lokpal bill in parliament in December- it was passed by the Lok Sabha but is now stalled in the Rajya Sabha, where opposition parties have asked for more than 200 amendments.
The government's stark attitude towards Anna and his team is at least partly provoked by the activists' blacklisting of the Prime Minister and 14 senior ministers. Team Anna says it has documented evidence to prove how through corruption or by sheltering other venal parties, they hurt the nation's interests. The activists demanded an independent inquiry against the ministers.
The government said that the unsubstantiated charges did not merit a circumvention of established processes. Many ministers replied individually to Anna, explaining why his team's allegations were factually incorrect.
Tags: Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, India Against Corruption, Lokpal Bill, Team Anna
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