Sonia Gandhi Digvijaya Singh is released
SPECIAL POLITICAL REPORT
1 SPECIAL POLITICAL REPORT Project country: India Date: INDIA'S FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION All corruption will one day come to light, no matter how hard one tries to cover it up Encourage public officials to be strictly accountable, dismiss them, take legal action against them, or appoint an appraiser or inspector to investigate and review their conduct. Mahatma Gandhi (1928) In 2011 Indian politics had to contend with numerous turmoil. The focus of the events is again and again the corruption. The heat caused by the corruption has built up over the years and has now erupted like a volcano, with the current governing coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 1, being swept away by the lava. This anti-corruption revolt was triggered by a large number of cases of fraud in Indian bureaucracy and politics. Huge amounts of money were embezzled. For example, more than 1.2 billion euros were embezzled in connection with the Common Wealth Games. This fraud was revealed in the retrospective calculation of the expenses of the games. The main defendant was the chief organizer of the games and then a member of the Congress Party, Suresh Kalmadi. He has since been interrogated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, found guilty, arrested by the police and is now in jail. The Commonwealth Games were supposed to emphasize India's image and organizational ability vis-à-vis other states, especially in view of the great success of the Olympic Games in China. 2 1 UPA is the United Progressive Alliance, which currently represents the governing coalition of Indian parties around the Congress Party. 2 cf.giga-hamburg.de/dl/download.php?d=/content/publikationen/pdf7gf_ Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung_ Politischer Sonderbericht_Indien_
2 Another case of fraud in the telecommunications sector became known at the same time. This is known colloquially as 2G fraud case 3. Officials and ministers of the Indian government were involved in the 2G spectrum scam. Instead of a regular auction, bribes were paid when the so-called 2G transmission licenses were awarded in 2008. In this way, the telecommunications companies were able to acquire the licenses on far more favorable terms than would have been the case with a proper auction. According to a report by the Court of Auditors (Comptroller and Auditor General), the damage caused by misappropriated funds for the treasury when the 2G licenses were sold amounted to approx. 27 billion euros 4. The culprit in this fraud case was none other than the telecommunications minister of the UPA government , Andimuthu Raja. After the scandal was made public, the investigation began against him. He is currently in police custody. His case will be heard in the Supreme Court. Similar cases of fraud are the Adarsh Housing Society Scam (Adarsh Housing Society Fraud) in which apartments intended for war widows were given to relatives of leading politicians with the involvement of the Prime Minister of Maharashtra. 5 Another case of fraud in the recent past is the Satyam Ramalinga Raju Scam, in which Ramalinga Raju, an industrialist, falsified the balance sheets of the former fourth largest outsourcing company in India, Satyam Computer Services, fraudulently doubling its portfolio in five years. 6 Another example is the Dinesh Dalmia Scam 7, in which Dinesh Dalmia, an Indian industrialist, illegally appropriated vast amounts of money. These corruption cases were enough to spark protests across the country. The protests are now taking the form of a widespread anti-corruption movement. History of the anti-corruption movement In order to put a stop to systemic corruption in India, Shanti Bushan, an influential lawyer and social activist, proposed a so-called Lokpal Bill 46 years ago, in which an ombudsman was to be appointed as an expert. However, this Lokpal bill has not yet been seriously discussed in a single session of parliament, which is why it was never included in the constitution. It is now the main goal of the ongoing protests to ratify the draft law and then implement it, in such a way that the Lokpal is granted not just an advisory but a binding status. Anna Hazare's contribution to the anti-corruption movement The protest movement is primarily led by Anna Hazare. This follows the Gandhian idea of non-violence. He is fighting by means of implementing 3 2G which is the second generation cellular network. 4 cf. httpw: //ww.ndtv.com/article/india/what-is-2g-spectrum-scam cf. 6 cf. Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung_ Politischer Sonderbericht_Indien_
3 hunger strikes against corruption, thus showing the relevance of the Gandhian satyagraha. 8 Corruption allegations against most political leaders as well as the inaction on the part of the government have often led to the aam admi (Common Man = the common man) supporting the protest of the anti-bribery crusader Hazare. Hazare decided to take matters into his own hands and take on the corrupt babus (leaders) by announcing his first death fast against corruption in New Delhi after months of unsuccessful attempt at discussion, starting on April 5th. 9 Personal details Anna Hazare was born on January 15, 1940 in Bhingar, in the Ahemdnagar district, Maharashtra as Kisan Baburao Hazare. He is an Indian social activist best known for his contribution to the development and establishment of Ralegan Siddhi, a kind of model village in Parner Taluka in the Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra. For this he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian award for civilians by the Indian government in 1992. He is currently a member of the committee for the development of a Lokpal law. Hazare made the decision to start his indefinite fast as a result of his demand that the law against corruption, the Jan Lokpal Law, which has long been debated in civil society, be passed. With the law in force, there would be an independent body, the Lokpal, which receives complaints from citizens against corruption, examines suspects and brings guilty persons to justice without regard to the person 11. This is intended to help resolve the numerous cases of corruption, as these are slowly becoming a serious threat to destroy the roots of Indian democracy. Above all, the implementation of the law is intended to make the investigation of high-ranking public figures in bribery scandals more effective. One of the demands is also not to exempt the Prime Minister and the President of the Supreme Court (CJI) from the law. The law, it is hoped, would produce a faster and cheaper form of law and justice. According to the Lokpal Bill, no permission is awaited from the high commission to initiate investigations into suspected irregularities or corruption lawsuits against political leaders, bureaucrats and judges. Lokpal Bills have already been presented to Parliament a number of times (1969, 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008), but the (legal) enactment has failed in all cases. 12 At the beginning of his protest on April 5, 2011, Hazare called for not only the establishment of the Jan Lokpal (Ombudsman) body, which he believed should be an institution similar to the Supreme Court or the Electoral Commission, but also the establishment of a Jan Lokayukta in every state , um 8 This is the basic attitude developed by Mahatma Gandhi, which is based on changing existing conditions by means of nonviolence Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Political Special Report_India_
4 Receive corruption complaints, investigate them within six months and prosecute the culprits. The duration of Hazare's fast was only 96 hours. Then the then unprepared government wavered. Hazare ended his fast on April 9, 2011, the day after the government approved all of his demands. The government issued a press release about the formation of a joint committee consisting of the government and representatives of civil society to help draft an effective Lokpal Bill. Anna Hazare's team Kiran Bedi belongs to Anna Hazare's inner circle. Kiran Bedi was India's first and highest ranking female police officer during her active time. She has worked as a police advisor in the UN Secretary-General's Department of Peacekeeping Operations and in many other international forums. Since retiring from active police work, Kiran Bedi has become an international activist for crime prevention, drug abuse, police and prison reforms, women's affairs and human welfare. She founded and operates two nonprofit organizations: Navjyoti and the India Vision Foundation, which provide education, training and drug addiction treatment for women and children in India's slums, rural areas and prisons. 13 Kiran Bedi promotes Hazare at public gatherings with the following statement: If the history of the anti-corruption movement is written for posterity, the face of protest veteran Anna Hazare will be identified with this struggle. 14 In addition to Kiran Bedi, other important supporters of Hazare's anti-corruption movement are: Jayant Patil of the Peasants and Workers Party, Shiv Sena 15 and its party leader Bal Thackeray, the retired judge Santosh Hegde, the lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh, an intellectual guru. The number of nationwide supporters could be continued indefinitely. Filth campaign against Hazare Although the central government has agreed to many demands, Hazare was accused at the same time by ministers of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) of an agency of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is part of the Hindu national opposition party Bharat Janata Party (BJP) and is often described by analysts as radical. India Today writes: The big old party (the Congress Party) shows its mean face. Shaken by the huge surge of support for Gandh veteran Anna Hazare, who used death fast to push for a comprehensive anti-corruption surveillance bill, the ruling Congress party responded by attempting to discredit Hazare's growing movement. The party's counter-offensive was based on shocking claims that people like Hazare were acting as agents of the RSS. 16 Hazare responded to these allegations by sending Bei Shiv Sena is an organization close to the Hindu national BJP Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Political Special Report_India_
5 letters to Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) and chairwoman of the Congress Party and to the Prime Minister (Dr. Manmohan Singh). In these letters Hazare complained about the lies that were intended to defame him. It would not bode well for the country if the responsible political leaders began to tell lies just to cling to their power. 17 At the same time, in the letter to the Prime Minister, Hazare conveyed his deep sorrow over the allegations: I am not a child who can be encouraged to start an indefinite fast. I take advice from many friends and critics, but I do what my conscience tells me to do. It is my experience that cornered governments even resort to defamation. It pains me that instead of dealing with the problem of corruption, the government is trying to conjure up conspiracy where there is none. 18 Baba Ramdev In the wake of Hazare's protest, one must also consider Baba Ramdev's contribution to this nationwide anti-corruption movement. His protest was also based on a threatened hunger strike in New Delhi to the point of death, but ended prematurely after a day due to the use of police violence. Ramdev is a recognized person in the yoga field. He has his yoga center in a holy place in northern India on the banks of the holy river Ganges, in Haridwar. His yoga messages are broadcast on television and are followed every day by approximately 10 million Indians across the country. His fight against corruption began when the Commonwealth Scam came to light and he filed an application to obtain his Right to Information (RTI) application to the track down ministers involved in this case. On November 14, 2010, at a protest rally by his political party Bharat Swabhiman against the alleged bribery at the Commonwealth Games at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi, he announced to his supporters that people found guilty of corruption should be shot (. ..). We must follow the Chinese example and shoot people guilty of corruption. India cannot thrive until the politicians, officials and officials responsible for the fraud are brought to justice. 19 His hunger protest of June 6, 2011 cannot be seen as a follow-up to Anna Hazare's fast on April 5, 2011, but had the same goal: fighting corruption. The fast, organized by Baba Ramdev, was organized in a tent with a capacity of approx. People in New Delhi. The main aim of Ramdev's hunger strike was to induce the Indian government to return huge amounts of money hidden in foreign accounts to India. Further demands concerned the massive amount of high denomination money (money with a very high face value) on the market, whose Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Political Special Report_India_
6 Reduction requested in order to make bribery more difficult. He also called for the introduction of strict punishment for corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. The protest, which began on June 4th, was interrupted the same night by the police - following the orders of the UPA government by the robust approach of the police. Baba Ramdev described this event in Delhi's Ramlila Ground as the blackest night of his life. He said he had never seen such atrocities before. The police force, in number, did not spare even the youngest children. Women and children were dragged across the square and beaten up. 20 Whether this was actually the case, or whether Ramdev was exaggerating, cannot be clearly proven. The government, however, justified its robust approach. One of the reasons given by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Kapil Sibal, was that Baba Ramdev was only given permission to run a yoga camp for people. But when people came to Ramlila Square in the capital and Ramdev went on a hunger strike, the government could not allow law and order to be destroyed. 21 In both cases, the government was concerned that both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were supported by the Hindu national BJP 22 and the RSS. Analysts said the government was busy indicting the opposition on the matter rather than seeking the truth. This was particularly evident in the case of Baba Ramdev's fast. Here one or the other politician of the Congress Party would have tried to drag the opposition party into the hunger strike. For example, Congress Party member Digvijay Singh said publicly that Ramdev's 5-star Satyagraha had the support of RSS. 23 The opposition party BJP has strongly condemned the actions of the UPA government. The leader of the BJP, L.K. Advani said Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi owe the country an explanation. He also urged President Pratibha Patil to convene an emergency session of parliament to discuss the Ramdev crisis. In Advani's view, the president should not remain a passive observer. 24 In support of the anti-corruption movement, the BJP held a nightly gathering at Delhi's Rajghat, a memorial to Gandhi, to protest the controversial treatment of Baba Ramdev and his fasting against corruption. 25 Protest veteran Anna Hazare also criticized the government's crackdown on Ramdev's hunger protest. In solidarity, he and the other members of civil society boycotted the meeting of the Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is presently the opposition party in India ndtv.com/article/india/ramdev-eviction-advani-and-co -pull-an-all-nighter-in-protest-atrajghat Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Special Political Report_India_
7 government. We condemn this action. This is a conspiracy against humanity. It's like strangling democracy, said Hazare. 26 Ramdev is very determined in his crusade against corruption and is willing to continue the protest. In response to the police action during his fast, he fought back with word attacks against the government: We went to court because of the brutality of the police. Nobody can crush our protests.The whole nation has shown its opinion. (...) We will gather all over the country, fast and hold dharnas (protests); we will go to each house and let people know about government action. 27 Ramdev continued to fast afterwards but was hospitalized because of his deteriorating health and ultimately broke off his fast. That was in June of this year. Meanwhile, Hazare did not remain idle but debated his draft with political parties. He received approval for many of his demands, including that the Lokpal should also target the prime minister and the higher judiciary. But the government let out loud that it would ignore Hazare's draft and only bring its own before parliament. Hazare then announced that he would go on hunger strike again with a large crowd on August 16, 24 hours after the start of Independence Day. The government has since arranged for the police in Delhi to prevent emerging actions by the civil movement 28. However, on August 9, a huge protest rally with Anna Hazare to mobilize the population took place in Mumbai 29 and on August 11 the Economic Times announced that Anna Hazare was finally allocated a place for his fasting action on August 16: The action will take place at the Jai Prakash Narayan Memorial Park next to the Feroze Shah Kotla Ground. 30 In the meantime, Anna Hazare publicly burned copies of the government version of the Lokpal Bill, most recently on Thursday, August 12, at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. 31 Conclusion, recent events and outlook Experts are of the opinion that although corruption has always existed in India, India's enormous economic growth has fueled corruption affairs. Taking into account the immense corruption outbreak this year, one concludes that this type of protest is inevitable. Leaders and supporters of this movement such as Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, Kiran Bedi and many others want to become role models for the people by showing them how democracy can be practiced when the elected representatives in parliament do nothing about cancer and themselves enrich more and more. On the one hand, they make the mass of citizens their Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Political Special Report_India_
8 aware of the duty to take action against emergencies, on the other hand the question must be asked whether a hunger strike is a constitutional means of combating these ulcers. On August 16, the next round of the anti-corruption campaign of the Hazare group was ushered in with a threatened further hunger strike by Anna Hazare. It was a difficult start for Hazare as the government was well prepared this time around. She had previously referred the matter to the local authorities in the capital region. These had tasked the police with ensuring compliance with the assembly law guidelines and demarcated the ring with clear announcements in advance. 22 conditions were established, without the assurance of which the protest could not be approved. The most important point: Fasting should be limited to three days. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressly stated this again in his letter to Hazare of August 14th in response to his letter to Singh of the same day. The number of fellow campaigners should also be limited to people. Public address systems were prohibited. Also, the approved location, Jai Prakash Narayan Memorial Park, which the government approved for the hunger strike, is not the first address for rallies in Delhi; this would have been at the Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi. In addition to these tangible facts, there were also verbal attempts to strike Hazare in the run-up to his strike. The latest development is that the spokesman for the Congress Party accused Anna Hazare of being involved in bribery scandals. This has been confirmed by a commission, the Justice Sawant Commission, which was appointed by the Supreme Court. Hazare is thus an extremely dubious advocate in the anti-corruption campaign. In addition, the use of a hunger strike is undemocratic. Only the parliament would have to decide on the Lokpal law and not the government. On August 15th, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised the Indian people a strong Lokpal law to fight corruption in the context of his Independence Day speech. Hunger strike, Singh emphasized here too, was not a means of addressing the problem. Early in the morning of August 16, 2011, Anna Hazare's comrades-in-arms sent the following text message in the greater Delhi area: 74-year-old Anna Hazare will start his death fast for us. He is ready to accept legal action against him. Come to JP Park near the Raj Ghat at nine in the morning. Jai Hind. Anna Hazare was ready to go on hunger strike, but had met only 16 of the 22 conditions for the protest in advance. In the style of Mahatma Gandhi, he wanted to start his next hunger strike non-violently, but not, like Gandhi, against arbitrary action by a foreign colonial power but against his own government, which for 46 years did not succeed in discussing Lokpal bills in detail in parliament and the law to adopt. He was prevented from doing so by clever tactics by the government. On the morning of August 16, the police prevented him from leaving his home. According to reports, he has since been taken into custody by police officers. Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Special Political Report_India_
9 Immediately afterwards, numerous protests began in different parts of India. At the moment it cannot be clearly distinguished whether it is the opposition party BJP which is using the events to gain political advantages from the events, or whether the protests were initiated by Hazare's supporters. Possibly there were already spontaneous reactions from previously rather uninvolved citizens to the events in Delhi. The Indian democratic structure has wavered somewhat since the beginning of the year. It still holds. The events of the next few days and weeks are eagerly awaited. Dr. Volker Bauer The author is the office manager of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in New Delhi, India Contribution in collaboration with Svenja Huemer and Himanshu Chawla IMPRINT Created: Editor: Hanns Seidel Foundation e.v., Copyright 2011 Lazarettstr. 33, Munich Chairman: Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Zehetmair, retired Minister of State, Senator E.h. Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Peter Witterauf Responsible: Christian J. Hegemer, Head of the Institute for International Cooperation Tel. +49 (0) Fax Hanns Seidel Foundation_ Political Special Report_India_
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