The Weekend Leader - Point of view

Jan Lokpal bill regressive, Anna used as prop: Arundhati Roy

New Delhi


Vol 2 | Issue 34

The Jan Lokpal bill is a "regressive piece of legislation" and Anna Hazare has been "used as a prop by foreign-funded NGOs" to lead the anti-corruption movement, writer and activist Arundhati Roy has said.

In an interview to CNN IBN, Roy said she is glad that the civil society's Jan Lokpal bill did not go through in parliament.

"I am extremely glad that the Jan Lokpal bill did not go through parliament in its current form," Roy said.

"I think the legislation is a dangerous piece of work. You used the real and legitimate anger of the people against corruption to push through this specific piece of legislation, which is very regressive according to me," she added.

Alleging that activist Anna Hazare, who spearheaded the anti-corruption movement, was used just as a prop, Roy said: "It was an NGO-driven movement by Kiran Bedi, (Arvind) Kejriwal and (Manish) Sisodia. Three of them run NGOs."

"I wanted to indicate why these NGOs are participating to mediate in what the public policy should be. World Bank and Ford Foundation fund the anti-corruption campaigns. Anna Hazare was picked up and propped up as the saint for the masses. He was not the brain behind the movement," she added.

Talking about the Jan Lokpal bill, Roy said that it attempts to create a form of "parallel oligarchy".

"The Jan Lokpal team, including the chairman, is to be selected by a pool of elite people and they are a pool of elite people. You have a bureaucracy which will have the policing power, the power to tap phones, prosecute, charge and judge from the prime minister to the bottom," she said.

Roy also questioned the media for its 24X7 coverage of Hazare's 12-day fast. "For a nation of one billion people, the media did not find anything else to report," she said, adding that "certain major TV channels campaigned for" the movement. "That's a kind of corruption for me at first place". - IANS

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