India

Opposition Support People’s Right to Protest

BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter

New Delhi: Backing Anna Hazare’s crusade, the opposition today declared that the people have the right to protest and their anger against corruption is “fierce and fair” because the Government wanted a “Sarkari Lokpal”.

Initiating a short duration discussion on growing incidents of corruption in the country, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley accused the UPA Government of acting like a child in handling the agitation of civil society led by Hazare.

“Enormity of protests is proportionate to anger and the enormity of anger is proportionate to the corruption,” he said chiding the Government for legislating in “haste and anger”.

Amid disruptions by Congress members, Jaitley said that the government had lost the moral battle since it wanted to control appointment of the Lokpal.

He said most of the proposals of the civil society like inclusion of the Prime Minister, judicial accountability and public grievance redressal mechanism are reasonable.

If still there is no agreement, the “will of Parliament will prevail,” he said. However, most of the proposals of the civil society can be made “compatible with the Constitution”.

He asked the Government to have a “serious relook” at its Lokpal Bill.

Finding faults with the handling of the civil society activists, Jaitley said, “You led them up to a garden path, then suddenly dumped them. Now they do not trust you anymore.”

The Prime Minister and the Government are helpless in handling the situation, he said. “Can we blame the people? …at the end of the day, public opinion is fierce and fair.”

“They have a right to protest and crusade, we must not curtail their right nor should we say like a child we will not talk to you,” he remarked.

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