I would not want to be in Harshavardhan’s shoes. The opposition he will face will be strong and fierce says Prithvi Reddy, national executive member of the Aam Admi Party.
Speaking to rediff.com he says the AAP will not give or take support and if the need be will sit in opposition. If no party can form a government then we will seek President’s rule.
It is a historic day for the country
There has been talk of the bombs at Pune being low intensity in nature. However looking at the preliminary investigation that has been conducted by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory, it gives us the clear indication that had the bombs taken off as they were designed to, it would be nothing short of mayhem.
The bomb was designed to perfection and there was no flaw in the design what so ever. The components, Ammonium Nitrate and fuel oil were perfectly in place and all the bombs were timed to perfection so that it could take off when the large crowds were either getting in or out.
Now the question is what went wrong with the bomb. Sources point out that there could be two reasons for the same and time would tell the exact reason. Ammonium Nitrate is hydroscopic in nature and could have picked up moisture as a result of which the bombs did not really take off. The other cause for the bombs to fail was that the charge picked up moisture once again causing the bomb to fail very badly.
When R K Singh, the Home Secretary speaks of a planned operation he is not wrong one bit. It had been planned for months and the equipments procured locally so that there was no doubt in the minds of the investigators as to some major operation being planned.
The contents that were used in the bomb were not difficult to procure and groups such as the Indian Mujahideen have ample stock on them. The IB says that it bears the signature of a Yasin Bhatkal operation considering the scary similarity it had with the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts. Both these operations were aimed at causing mayhem to the fullest extent. At the Chinnaswamy stadium crowds were getting into the stadium and the bombs were timed to set off at that time. Even at Pune there was an agitation on by the members of the Anna Hazare team and the bombs were timed to go off when the crowds were either getting in or out.
It is more than an act of mischief says the IB. A person wanting to play mischief will not plan an operation to such an extent and it is definitely the handiwork of a very professional outfit. Barring the fact that ammonium nitrate and the charge caught moisture there was absolutely no flaw in the manner in which the bombs were assembled. Moreover the manner in which they dodged every agency to plant these bombs is an indicator of how precise the planning was. The fact that they used bicycles like they have done in the past in Jaipur also shows that it bears the signature of the Indian Mujahideen. Right from the planning to the final execution it bears similarities with the earlier blasts such as 13/7 or the Chinnaswamy stadium blasts.
A friend of Siddiqui- It was said on day one of the blast that this could have been a revenge for the death of Indian Mujahideen operative Qateel Siddiqui who was murdered in a Pune jail. He happens to be a good friend of Yasin Bhatkal and it was only natural that the death would have been avenged. In fact the police also had an anonymous letter to this effect that the death of Siddiqui would be avenged, but in their true fashion they sat over the letter waiting for something of this nature to happen.
Yasin and Siddiqui operated together since the past many years. They were together in the Chinnaswamy blasts as well. In fact Siddiqui coordinated with Yasin and planted the bomb at Bangalore. However Siddiqui was arrested and later murdered in jail at Pune. This was being seen as a war between the Islamists and the Hindus and there has been specific intelligence that some operatives in the underworld were undertaking the job of killing Islamists in the jails in India. Sources say that in order to avenge the death of Siddiqui, Yasin could have planned this operation.
IM goes wrong– What one can notice in the latest operations of the IM is that they are able to plan an operation to perfection, but when it comes to the execution they are unable to create the impact. They have played with RDX in the Delhi High Court blasts and Ammonium Nitrate in the 13/7 and now the Pune blasts. They are able to get the composition right and also their foot soldiers in place. But the key aspect missing is manner in which the detonators are positioned to explode the bomb. The IM has been having major issues with expertise and this is thanks to the arrest of many of their operatives. There were the likes of Abdus Subhan and also Mansoor Pheerbuoy who were masters at this game. While Subhan is on the run, Mansoor is under arrest. Hence the IM has been relying very heavily on novices as a result of which their act fails at the last minute. However agencies say that even if the IM is not getting the desired results in terms of mayhem, they still continue to send a message that they are around and are capable of undertaking an attack of this nature.
An opportunity hunter- Now comes the investigation of the tailor Patil who has been questioned repeatedly. Sources say that he was nothing but an opportunity hunter. He saw a parcel and decided to pick it up. His intention was to steal the parcel not knowing that there was a bomb in it. Although his versions are very contradictory in nature, sources maintain that he is confused and in a state of shock. He is not being treated as an accused in the case and the police are just trying to get more leads from him. They are also seeking the help of the cycle vendor in preparing the sketches. He has confirmed that few bicycles were purchased from him on the day of the blasts.
Will the Anna Hazare team contest the elections in the year 2014? Many have termed the decision by this team to enter into politics as a death of a movement. Justice Santhosh Hegde, a member of the team since day one says, “ frankly I am not for it at all. Team Anna does not know the art of swimming in the muck and hence politics is a very bad idea.”
Speaking to rediff.com at Bangalore today, Justice Hegde says that Anna Hazare has championed the cause against corruption. Of course people hate corruption, but then hatred does not convert into votes. I do not think they have the experience in the political field. One needs to be swim in the muck to be successful in politics and I don’t think they have the expertise to do so.
To enter into politics one needs a lot of money, man power and workers who have the expertise to go door to door seeking votes. In my view the Anna Hazare team does not have all this and hence frankly in my opinion getting into politics is a bad idea.
The bigger worry will be the choice of candidates. There will be people with vested interests who want to nurture political ambitions and they will try and get into this. The very purpose will be lost then. I think he and the team should have confined to what they were doing all these days.
No doubt that Anna has a huge following. But there is clearly a fatigue factor among his supporters and these people will not come to the maidan everyday. Instead Anna should have traveled the country and spread the message instead of trying to get into politics. However I do not want to let down his decision as there is a need for a change in political thinking.
Regarding my decision on whether to enter the political arena or not? Well it is a clear no from my side. However if I know of candidates who can change the system I will support them.
I had expressed my displeasure about making this a political movement in the past too. Anna today will be looked as a politician. Right through our attack was on the politicians. Now if we enter into the system, we become part of it and hence cannot crib. There is a need to work towards a change.
When you ask me whether Anna Hazare was lured into a trap into entering politics, I would not be able to say anything about that. I think some members of his team had a political ambition since some time. Thereafter it took a turn. From the dialogue that had been taking place, I feel that there was some deep thinking before this decision to join politics was taken.
External Affairs minister, S M Krishna opened a challenge to Anna Hazare and company while stating that they should contest the elections so that we would all know who has the support of the people. Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Krishna said that Anna and his group are a team of people who want to bring about a change.
They need to come to the conclusion as to what method they would want to adopt to bring about this change. I welcome them when they say that they want to bring about a change and also when they say that they want to contest the elections. Them fighting the elections is a good thing as it would then be a level playing field. Then let us see who gets the support of the people.
In the past two days the nation has its eyes focused on the Lokpal issue. Although the crowd turn out for the latest round of protest has not been on expected lines, some members of the Anna team feel that the issue of fighting corruption has not lost its sheen. However the general perception is that it is time to get out of Urban India and move to Rural India debating this subject.
Justice Santhosh Hegde, member of the drafting panel, Lokpal bill says for starters that anyone associated with this issue would be able to comment only once they understand what is going on in parliament. I am unable to understand this Lokpal Bill and its present position. In fact no one knows what the Parliament is doing. There are so many amendments, many accepted and many rejected. The present shape of the Lokpal Bill has no clarity what so ever, he says.
Regarding Anna Hazare and his protest, Justice Hegde feels that one must be appreciative of what he is doing. Many are critical of his stubbornness and feel that the Parliament must be given some time. He is struggling over there and let us support him instead of criticising him. Every issue has its pros and cons.
I was with him yesterday. Yes the crowd turn out has not been very impressive. However that does not mean that issue has died down. There was a lot of enthusiasm that people showed to the lead up to the protest, People came out in large numbers when the procession passed.
Well it is difficult to say as to why the crowd turn out has been lower when compared to the last time. It could well be fatigue in my opinion. I would not say that the low turn out is not something that can be ignored. When fighting such an issue it is extremely important that there is peoples’s participation. The cause if lost if people do not take part.
The crowd turn out however should act as a deterrent. What is more important is that we keep the issue alive. In my view Anna Hazare should keep travelling to different parts of the country. I guess the issue has to now be raised in the rural parts of the country. There is a need to create awareness in those areas and for this Anna needs to travel more often to the rural belts.
On the numerous petitions that have been filed in the courts against this protest, Justice Hegde says that there is no bar in discussing this subject in the open. Unlike a matter before court which is sub judice, there is no such bar in discussing the proceedings that are going on in Parliament. Well, the Parliament has protection under the guise of a privilege motion, but then again that cannot be applied over here. There are so many from the Parliament who speak about this issue in public and they have not been pulled up for privilege and hence that cannot be applicable to the public as well. I firmly believe that it is the people who create the Parliamentarians who are bigger than the Parliament.
Speaking about the Lokpal bill, Justice Hegde points out that it cannot go in for a judicial scrutiny, unless there is a Presidential accord for the same. Even if someone does manage to get an assent from the President, the court would never go into the amendments and additions into the bill. The court can only look into the factor of constitutionality of the bill and in case it is found to be unconstitutional the court can strike it down. However in the instant case it becomes clear that the judiciary will not interfere with the proceedings in parliament.
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition challenging the fast undertaken by Anna Hazare in connection with the Lokpal Bill. A Division Bencgh comprising Justice Ram Mohan Reddy and Justice Venugopal Gowda stated that there is no violation in undertaking such a protest.
The Bench also stated that in case there was any violation then the petitioner was free to address the same with the local authorities.
Amarnath, appearing party in person before the Karnataka High Court stated in his petition that undertaking such a fast was unconstitutional as the Lokpal bill was already being debated in Parliament. The petitioner contended that the Parliament is supreme and in such an event it was not right on part of the Anna Hazare group to challenge the Parliament. When the Parliament is seized off a matter then no court or individual has the right to challenge the same, the petition further contended before the court.
The Court however did not see merit in the argument and contended that there was no violation in what was being undertaken. However it reserved the right of liberty to the petitioner to report to the local authorities in case there was any sort of violation during the protest/fast against the Lokpal Bill.
Even as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh assured the nation that his government was committed towards passing the Lokayukta government, Anna Hazare continued to accuse the government of deciet on this issue.
Speaking at a mammoth rally at the freedom park bangalore today, Hazare said that the Government bill is not strong enough. Moreover the government is not willing to relinquish control over the CBIm I doubt the Prime Ministers intention on the sincerity of passing this bill and I do not agree with their stand on the CBI either, Hazare said.
He said that he has written a letter to the PM regarding all these points and is awaiting a reply on the same.
Anna further announced that there would be a satyagraha at the Ramlila maidan on Decmeber 26th and a jail bharo programme on December 30th in support of a strong Lokpal bill.
He further said that this government should either put in place a strong Lokpal bill or just go. However I have my doubts if the bill will be passed this session, he also added.
He further stated that there have been attempts to throttle him and his movement. I have been threatened, betrayed and cheated by this government. I am not one bit scared. I have been fighting against corruption since the past 25 years and will continue to do so till I die. My movement has ensured the removal of 6 corrupt ministers.
In Karnataka the crusade against corruption has reached an interesting level. The Lokayukta police in particular have gone hammer and tongs against every second person in power and the arrest of B S Yeddyurappa, former Chief Minister of Karnataka is an eye opener as to how the system is functioning in the state.
Apart from Yeddyurappa there are several other powerful persons who are under the storm in Karnataka. Krishnaiah Shetty, Katta Subramanya Naidu and now Home Minister R Ashok. All these persons are booked for denotifying lands and these cases are being probed by the Lokayukta police.
Justice Santhosh Hegde who actually set the ball rolling says he feels happy to see that there is some result in this crusade against corruption. I see this fight against corruption going well in Karnataka and there have been some positive developments in this regard. However I only hope that the judiciary does not play truant in this fight against corruption. Court would need to understand the gravity of the issues and deal very carefully on such matters. If the judiciary starts granting bail in all these cases then it would become very difficult to continue this battle against corruption.
In so far as Yeddyurappa, I really wish the court takes cognisance of his actions especially after he was sent to judicial custody. Look at the drama that took place after he was sent to judicial custody. It was nothing but mockery of the system and courts should deal firmly with this matter. He was doing nothing but fooling the system. Courts should view this very seriously. I don’t think he has much of a chance today. He has to face the mining case as well and the consequences should be the same as well in this case too.
Speaking of judicial activism, I think it should realise that these are serious matters at the end of the day. Don’t be under the misconception that these are all easily bailable offences. Basically the law states that offences punishable with two years or lesser sentence have a bail provision. Although corruption cases have a higher sentence they can be granted bail, but that is a discretion of the court. In my opinion when powerful personalities are involved it should not grant bail easily. There is a need to isolate them since they are capable of tampering with the evidence. While dealing with such matters the court should bear in mind that the normal course is jail and only in exceptions it is bail.
Speaking of corruption Justice Hegde also pointed out about the recent developments in the Anna Hazare camp. It is very sad that the team is falling out this way. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for this. I agree that we are all different kinds of people and we joined hands for a particular cause. You cannot expect all of us to have the same nature. The issue however is that each one is bringing in their personal views and this is causing an embarrassment to the team. Each one may have the right to express his opinion but should ensure that certain sensitive areas should not be touched as it does cause a great deal of embrassment. The team members should be careful while making statements. Also another issue that needs attention is the targeting of a political party. In my view it was not fair to do that. Our fight is against corruption and not a political party.
Spiritual Guru, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar has been a central point in the entire Anna Hazare issue. After a prolonged battle with the Government of India there is some solution to this problem.
Shri Ravishankar in this chat with rediff.com says that the Jan Lokpal Bill is only a first aid kit. It can instill some fear in people. To eradicate corruption completely, we need a spiritual awakening in the society. Patriotism, love and a sense of belongingness can help rid the society of corruption.
He further goes on to state that the he never once thought that the people of India had taken over the Parliament as was being alleged in this issue. By listening to people’s demands, the power of Parliament does not get overridden. Parliament is there to bring the voice of the people. Unfortunately, nothing in our Government works without pressure. What is shocking and unfortunate now with the party politics is that the politicians listen only to the party high command and do not represent the voice of the people. When the Jan Lok Pal bill was sent to the Chief Ministers of various states, instead of seeking opinion from their MLA’s and the elected representatives in the districts, the Chief Ministers referred back saying “Whatever the High Command says, we agree”. This is not democracy; it is dictatorship under the guise of democracy.
I will not say that the Jan Lok Pal bill is 100% perfect. It may have certain flaws which only the experts can see and rectify. There is scope for modification. Someone who can make it better is always welcome. It is not who makes the bill but what is in the bill that matters. What matters is whether it helps the common man. Anything in the Jan Lok Pal bill which does not fit into the parliamentary system or appears to violate the fundamental rights of the people, will have to be corrected. But the basic principles of the Jan Lok Pal bill will have to be adopted by the Government.
Nearly 40 scams have been exposed in the last 5 years; this has shocked the people of this country. Their anger needed a vent. In the last few months, I have travelled to 14 States across India and I could sense this issue when people would ask me in public. Because, the people have been suffering a great deal due to corruption, all of us together started this agitation last November. We were looking for a senior person to spearhead it. At the same time, Anna Hazare was leading such an agitation in a district in Maharashtra. We then invited him to New Delhi. His response to our request was, “I don’t know. Nobody knows me in Delhi. But everybody knows me in my district and I will get support there”. So, we gave The Art of Living course to people in 15 centers and created volunteers and through them began this movement. We started this agitation in Jantar Mantar with the participation of Art of Living volunteers and singers. However I must also add that the as far as I know it was always a peoples’ movement and the talk that the RSS was backing it is unknown to me.
Anna Hazare is a man of firm resolve and he has only echoed the frustration of the people. A sense of urgency was created after waiting for 42 years for the bill to come.
A peculiar legal situation has arisen out of the entire Anna Hazare incident.in the absence of a clear cut verdict by the Supreme Court on such situations, it looks like the time has come for a judgment on this issue.
Home Minister P Chidambaram who defended the actions of the Government and the police made it clear that Anna should test the waters before the court if he has issues regarding the conditions imposed.
The Government however looks like it is on a very weak footing. There are glaring loop holes in their action against Anna Hazare.
Justice Santhish Hegde who was part of the Lokpal drafting panel says that the first arbitrary action was to detain him before the protest even commenced. This will be the first point that will go against the government.
Although the government may argue that they apprehended trouble this would not be a feasible argument since action was initiated before the waters were tested. Moreover if the government apprehends trouble then it is its responsibility to ensure that adequate security is provided. Further it is the government which has notified certain areas in the capital to stage protests. When this being the case the demand by Anna to protest in such notified areas is perfectly valid in law.
The government will further come under scrutiny since it has since it had no business to restrict conditions regarding the time frame for the protest. When a protest is against the government an individual or group is well within his rights to protest as long as he or she wants until the demands are met. The Constitution of India does not give the government a right to tell an individual or group as to how and how long a protest can go on. The government can however restrict the number of vehicles that can be parked around the area of protest so that no nuisance is caused.
Legal experts feel that there ought to be a clear cut judgment on such issues. Former Advocate General of Karnataka Ashok Harnahalli feels that the Supreme Court should have acted soon on the Baba Ramdev case and if it had we would have had a precedent in place for this Anna incident. The government of India is most likely to rely on the various judgments we have on bundhs and strikes. A land mark ruling of the Kerala High Court upheld later in part by the Supreme Court of India had termed bundhs as unconstituional. The basis on this verdict was based on the fact that bundhs disrupted normal life and also hit essential services. However this verdict cannot be relied upon by the Government of India since the Anna incident does not fall under the purview of a bundh. The reasons are that Anna has not sought the closure of establishments, ordered vehicles off the road and also his protest does not hit any essential service.
The government which acted in haste may have realised, but in not being able to secure the release of Anna it has brought upon itself another illegality. While courting arrest is not approved of in law, keeping a prisoner in jail despite a release order is a bigger illegality. The government could argue that he was offered to be released, but Anna can quote that he was apprehensive of another arrest since he would have gone on protest again after his release. The Constituion and the penal laws of the land make it clear that no person shall be detained arbitrarily without solid ground being provided. Further it also mandates that any person being detained for more thab 24 hours has to be produced before the magistrate in order to continue with the detention. In this case he was remanded in judicial custody and later the order of release was issued. Despite Anna refusing to come out it was still the duty oif the police to produce him before the court and inform the same.
Any verdict by the Supreme Court will be of great relevance to future cases. While a government cannot refuse the right to protest it however can subject a protest to reasonable conditions. The court will have to decide on what the reasonable conditions are and the country today is in need of proper guidelines in such cases, legal experts point out. The court will also have to decide whether the government has taken steps more drastic than the situation or whether the situation itself was as drastic as the government claimed it to be. Further the court will also have to decide if such protests fall under the ambit of a bundh which infringes upon the rights of others.