Saturday, September 3, 2011

[ZESTCaste] No Lokpal, says Kancha Ilaiah

No Lokpal, says Kancha Ilaiah
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 22:34 Written by kuffir

[ A Round Table India report]

August 30: At a public meeting at the Hyderabad Press Club today,
Kancha Ilaiah emphasized that the Team Anna sponsored Jan Lokpal bill
was a direct attack on representative democracy and the constitution
and it should be opposed vigorously. 'No Lokpal' should be the
Dalit-Bahujan demand, he said.

The well attended meeting, organized by the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled
Castes Welfare Association and Andhra Pradesh Ambedkar Yuvajana
Sangham, to discuss 'Caste, Corruption, Constitution' threw up a wide
range of dissenting views on the proposed Lokpal bill, particularly
the Jan Lokpal version. Bojja Tharakam, senior advocate, human rights
activist and Dalit intellectual, G. Shankar and Bharat Bhushan of the
Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, D.C.Rosaiah,
retired IAS officer, Asifuddin Mohammed of the Islamic Academy for
Comparative Religion (IACR) apart from Prof.Kancha Ilaiah, were among
the key speakers at the meeting. Present at the meeting were many
activists, students, employees and others.IMG_2457_copy

G.Shankar, General Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes Welfare
Association, questioned the rationale behind the proposal of the
Lokpal legislation, and analysed the many ways in which it could be
employed to target and victimise SC/ST employees in the government and
various public sector undertakings. Pointing out that Dalits and
Adivasis already form the overwhelming majority of employees in
government who face charges of graft, he added that the new
legislation could possibly aggravate the situation further.

It's Ekpal, not Lokpal

Expressing sharp criticism about the way in which Team Anna tried to
impose Jan Lokpal on the parliament; Bojja Tharakam cautioned the
Dalitbahujans that they need to prepare themselves to launch a
movement to protect the constitution and representative democracy.

Bojja Tharakam said the intention behind the whole Hazare led movement
against corruption was to install an 'Ekpal', a single supreme
authority that reigned over the parliament, the executive and the
judiciary, answerable to no one but itself. He said it was an old
ploy, a much used tactic in Hindu history to invoke and invent an
avatar, vest him with a divine aura and use that invention to serve
their narrow parochial interests.

He said the campaign to project Hazare as an ultra-clean new Gandhi, a
superhuman personality of impeachable integrity and honesty, was part
of the plan to produce a new Vishnu, an Ekpal who would decimate the
forces of corruption, which in the eyes of the Hindus means only SCs,
STs, OBCs and Muslims.IMG_2471

He asked what exactly was wrong with the existing laws and
institutions that such unreasonable new demands are being made. He
said that laws and regulations such as the Prevention of Corruption
Act, the CCA rules, and institutions such as the ACBs and Vigilance
departments and the CBI etc are quite adequate to handle all kinds of
graft and misconduct, so where was the need for a new legislation and

He outlined the partisan application of anti-corruption law and
machinery until now: while at the level of the bureaucracy and in the
PSUs, thousands of employees of Dalit, Adivasi and other marginalized
backgrounds have become almost exclusive targets of investigations and
inquiries, more often than not, on questionable grounds, politicians
of lower caste backgrounds weren't spared either. When A.Raja, the
former Telecom Minister, followed the same procedure in granting
licenses to telecom companies as his predecessors, Dayanidhi Maran and
Arun Shourie, why was only he in jail, and not the other two?

Raja had made it very clear that he had kept the Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and the Finance Minister P.Chidambaram informed on all
his decisions, Tharakam pointed out, so why are the Prime Minister and
Chidambaram not being touched? Similarly, why was only Mayawati's
decision to expand or widen the road from Delhi to Agra, known as the
Taj Corridor, being questioned while similar decisions were taken by
many chief ministers and state governments across the country in the
recent past?

In the Judiciary, he asked, why were only K.G. Balakrishnan and
Dinakaran being targeted when key members of Team Anna themselves, the
Bhushans, had raised questions about the integrity of 16 justices? Why
was Justice Anand spared when senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani had
produced evidence that the judge had submitted a false birth
certificate to get his job?

He questioned the undemocratic, coercive methods employed by Team Anna
and their contempt for the principle of representation: from the
drafting panel to the proposed Jan Lokpal, was there any place in
their vision for any Dalitbahujan representation? How can two persons
from one family be chosen for the drafting panel? Why doesn't Hazare
question that kind of nepotism, he asked. Doesn't he see all the plush
arrangements made for his fast—from the pandal to the tents to food—
and the funds that went into making all that possible, as corruption?

He raised some very fundamental questions about the probity of the
self-appointed anti-corruption crusaders: when Dalits and other
marginalized groups find it so hard to mobilize even a few thousand
rupees—for even the most basic expenses as hiring charges for the
venue, loudspeakers and lighting, for handbills-- to hold a public
meeting and still attract large crowds but ultimately get only paltry
media attention, how did Team Anna manage to find the resources for
such lavish arrangements and bag the attention of hundreds of cameras
and reporters, for 13 whole days?

'Who paid for the 24x13 media coverage of the Anna Hazare fast?' Isn't
that corruption, he asked.

He commended Bahujan political leaders like Laloo Yadav and Sharad
Yadav for upholding the idea of the 'supremacy of parliament', and its
credibility as the foremost legitimate public forum in the country. He
said meetings such as this should be held in every district, village
and town in the state and country, on the same subject
('Caste-Corruption-Constitution') so that awareness about the issues
involved could be raised, and Dalitbahujans be prepared to protect the
constitution and their rights.

Have Dalits ever been treated with anything but corruption?


Retired IAS officer, D.C.Rosaiah wanted to know if the Dalits in the
country have ever been treated with anything but 'aviniiti'
(immorality or corruption)? If there was any community that had a
legitimate right to raise a banner against corruption in the country,
it was the Dalits, he said.

He warned that the Dalits, Adivasis and after them the Backward
Classes and minorities would be the primary targets of the proposed
Jan Lokpal Bill.

Bharat Bhushan asked: what would the Dalits, the great majority of
whom who earn less than Rs.100 a day, know about corruption? The only
issue that's relevant for them is social justice, he emphasized.

'No Lokpal'

Prof.Kancha Ilaiah called upon all the Dalitbahujans to oppose Jan
Lokpal in one voice. 'No Lokpal should be our demand', he said.

He said two recent events underlined the need for Dalitbahujans to
become more aware of concerted assaults being planned on their rights.
The first, the release of the film 'Aarakshan', was an attack on the
'right to life' of the Dalitbahujans and the second, the Jan Lokpal
tamasha, was a direct, more comprehensive attack on the constitution
and parliamentary democracy.

He said the first assault was being defended on the grounds of 'right
to expression' and the second was being hyped-up as a nation-wide
crusade against corruption. He said the media had a big role to play
in lending credibility and support to both arguments. He said the
national media features many 'intellectual thugs' on debates and talk
shows to oppose Dalitbahujan points of view, and tries to present
highly exaggerated accounts of upper caste led movements and crusades.

The familiar tactic of using slick camerawork to present 'tens as
hundreds and hundreds as thousands and thousands as lakhs' was being
used by the media to once again project the India Against Corruption
(IAC) sponsored Hazare agitation as a nationwide, people's movement.
He said the media had perfected this art since the 2007 anti-Mandal
agitation led by 'Youth For Equality', of which Kejriwal and Kiran
Bedi were great sympathizers.

Apart from the fact that it was an attack on representative democracy,
his opposition to the Hazare movement was based on very simple
grounds, he said: what was corruption for the upper castes was
non-corruption for the Dalitbahujans, and what was corruption for the
Dalitbahujans was non-corruption for the upper castes.


The RSS and Sangh parivar were also key promoters of the Hazare
movement, he felt. All the saffronites had come out in Gandhi topis to
support the movement, he remarked, and if the BJP had the courage, it
should contest the next elections on the issue of Jan Lokpal and
corruption and see if it would win more than 25 seats across the

He said though the Dalitbahujan politicians had stood up against the
bullying tactics of Team Anna, the masses too should gear themselves
up for a prolonged battle. No Lokpal should be the goal, or the Bill
should be put to sleep in the same way as the Women's Reservations
Bill, he said. If Team Anna wanted the Bill to be passed, he
suggested, they should contest the 2014 elections and try to convince
the people of its need, as is the usual democratic practice and not
try to dictate to parliament what it needs to do.

Brother Asifuddin Muhammad of the Islamic Academy of Comparative
Religion said the proposed Jan Lokpal had some fundamental loopholes.
One major problem was with: who would select the Lokpal? The selection
process and committee proposed overruled or left no space for
SC/ST/OBC and minorities representation, and was hence undemocratic
because it also ignored the parliament. Next major problem was: to
whom would the Lokpal be accountable?


He said it was obvious that the Sangh parivar was supporting the
Hazare movement and this posed a threat to the minorities in the
country. He said he was very glad that the Dalits and Muslims thought
alike on this issue.


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