By: Greg Donaldson
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
NEW DEHLI, India – After fasting for twelve days Anna Hazare has been heard loud and clear by the country’s parliament.
After an eight hour session on Saturday, both houses passed a resolution urging for the creation of an independent anticorruption agency to monitor government officials.
Included in the resolution were three main demands that Hazare required. First, an anticorruption bill had to be passed during the current session of Parliament. Second, anticorruption agencies would also be created at the state level to monitor local officials. Hazare’s last substantial mandate was that a clear process be created for public grievances.
Despite this success, the day nearly ended in a stalemate. After being told the new resolution would be put to a “voice” vote, “Team Anna” received a communication from Parliament that it would make the group aware of the House consensus on the bill but that the resolution would not be voted on that day.
Team Anna immediately accused the government of betrayal and demanded that the resolution be passed by a vote. Shortly thereafter, a motion was made to vote on the resolution. While a voice vote did not take place, the bill passed unanimously. “Thumping of the desk is akin to passing a motion by voice vote,” House Speaker Meira Kumar explained.
In celebration of the passage of the resolution, Team Anna invited supporters to attend Hazare’s breaking of his fast Sunday morning. Hazare shed over fifteen pounds during the course of his fast but doctors report that his health is stable.
Hazare broke his fast by drinking a glass of coconut juice given to him by a five year old girl.
While Saturday marked a historical day throughout India, many are skeptical about the government’s true intent, believing that they might attempt to drag their feet in passing the resolution into law.
Team Anna announced that it still does not trust the government and it will watch the parliament’s actions to ensure that their “morally binding commitment” is kept.
Many local political scientists do not see the government going against a resolution that it created. Yogendra Yadav explained if the government did go against the bill, the parliament’s legitimacy would plummet.
In the past the government has been accused of corruption but some of that criticism has shifted to Team Anna. Many call the organizations tactics dirty and “political blackmail.”
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi espressed that people have a right to protest but that threatening to fast until death in order to get your way is incorrect
Hazare’s supporters defend the actions taken noting that if Hazare had not gone to such extreme measures the resolution would have never passed.
Team Anna has demanded a special session of parliament be called to pass the bill.
For more information, please see:
Times of India – Team Anna demands special session to pass Lokpal Bill – 29 August 2011
Express India – Has Anna Hazare really come out a winner? – 28 August 2011
India Today –Anna Hazare to break his fast today at 10am, govt accepts his key demands – 28 August 2011
Times of India – Anna Hazare wins, Parliament passes resolution on Lokpal Bill – 27 August 2011
New York Times – Anna Hazare Ends Hunger Strike as Indian Parliament Agrees to His Demands – 27 August 2011