National

Fight against corruption & communalism must go hand-in-hand

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New Delhi: South Asian Minorities Lawyers Association (SAMLA) on 21 April called upon the government and civil society groups to give equal importance to the fight against communalism as has been afforded against corruption. In a resolution passed at the discussion entitled “Corruption, Lok Pal and Rule of Law,” SAMLA called upon all stake-holders to utilize consensus against corruption to find an effective solution to the problem, both at the Central and state levels, without defaming and denigrating personalities.

Speaking at the discussion, Salman Khurshid, Union Minister of Minority Affairs and a member of the joint draft committee, expressed confidence that the committee would be able to prepare a draft which would be acceptable to all. He reiterated that Union government was committed to fight corruption and coming to a consensus on the draft Lok Pal bill.

Eminent film maker Mahesh Bhatt said that there was deep anger against corruption among the public and Anna Hazare was able to magnify that anger. He further said that fight against corruption could not succeed unless the issue of communalism was given equal importance.

Eminent journalist Vidya Subramaniam pointed out that India had witnessed two anti-corruption movements in 1974 under J. P. and in 1989 under V. P. Singh but it did not result into checking corruption as these movements lacked ideological direction. She emphasized that the fight against corruption should not attempt to vitiate the atmosphere against politicians and personalities in public life so that free discussion might be undertaken on the issue.

Prof Afzal Wani, a professor of law at the Indraprastha University, said that a major factor behind the prevalence of corruption in the country was our failure to evolve into a society which lives by the values propounded by the Constitution. He further said that there was a need to develop a doctrine of separation of functions instead of separation of powers.

Eminent human rights activist and lawyer Ashok Agrwaal said that Anna Hazare was a symbol of deep anger of the society against corruption. He added that his views on Narendra Modi were immaterial. He also said that expression of popular anger against issues affecting lives of citizens were legitimate and should be encouraged in order to strengthen democracy. He regretted restrictions on public places especially the ban of rallies at the Boat Club in Delhi and said such actions by successive governments were aimed at restricting popular expression and a move towards a “regulated democracy.”

Navaid Hamid, a member of the National Integration Council, pointed out that de-linking of issue of corruption from the fight against communalism had given a boost to communal forces in the country. He cited JP and VP Singh movements as examples of such dangers as they strengthened Hindutva forces. He said that the fight against communalism must be an integral part of the struggle against corruption.

Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, Working President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, supported the anti-corruption movement and said that the fight must be taken to its logical conclusion by attacking the other most important form of corruption: communalism which harms both the victim and the oppressor. He said that the government should ensure that the institution of Lok Pal was free and independent. He said, “we must strive to realize true democracy in the country wherein all the citizens may be able to enjoy equality, dignity and freedom.”

(Compiled by Salar Khan Advocate - salarnews@gmail.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 5

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