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18 August 2011

Right to Sathyagraha is fundamental to Indian democracy: PFI

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Popular Front of India (PFI) Chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman has stated that the arrest of Anna Hazare and associates prior to the sit-in hunger strike is a blatant violation of democratic right of dissent and protest.

A PFI press release issued by Abdul Rahiman said: "Even while sharing our concerns over the increase of corruption in public life, there is scope for differences regarding the ways and means of curbing it and also inclusions and exclusions in the Lokpal Bill. Our political system has yet to evolve a mechanism by which best interest of the people can be brought into legislative process."

The release said that any attempt to prevent satyagraha by force is against the spirit of our freedom struggle itself. It is shameful that a non-violent and moral weapon which has survived the brutalities of British Raj is being targeted by Congress party and government. As per constitutional provisions, the power of legislation will remain with the Parliament. But citizens should not be denied the right to protest even in the form of indefinite satyagraha.

The statement also noted that Irom Sharmila in Manipur is on indefinite fast for past many years for repealing a law that gives absolute powers to armed forces. It has been ignored not only by the government, but also by the "civil society" which has rallied behind Anna Hazare. Also the provision of "law and order" is now being misused by different state governments to curb not only protests by icons like Anna Hazare, but even patriotic parades and public meetings by minority organisations like Popular Front as happened in southern states on Independence Day this year.

Abdul Rahiman stated that those who view Anna Hazare incident as a case of rights violation, have to come forward against all similar violations across the country.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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