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Activists burn copies of Indian anti-corruption bill


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Activists burn copies of Indian anti-corruption bill

2011-08-04 22:14:43 GMT+7 (ICT)

NEW DELHI (BNO NEWS) -- Activists on Thursday burned copies of a new anti-corruption bill introduced by the Indian government, slamming the legislation for exempting the prime minister, the judiciary and lawmakers, the Times of India reported.

Supporters of social activist Anna Hazare burned copies of the government's version of the Lokpal bill, calling it the "anti-poor" law for excluding the office of the Prime Minister from the purview of a new ombudsman. The proposed legislation exempts the serving prime minister, but he can be investigated for any wrongdoing once he leaves office.

The draft bill also excludes the judiciary and any action of a member of Parliament or any parliamentary committee. "To protest the unilateral, high-handed decision of the government, the copies of the bill will be burnt from today," said civil society member Arvind Kejriwal.

Hazare threatened to continue protesting the exclusion of some recommendations made by civil society representatives from the bill until August 16, when he will go on hunger strike. The 73-year-old Gandhian social activist went on hunger strike in April to force the government to form a joint panel of ministers and activists to draft the Lokpa bill.

Meanwhile, the Indian government slammed the burning of copies by activists. "It's an insult and an affront to Parliament," human resource development Kapil Sibal said, as reported by the Times of India.

Sibal added that if Hazare had differing views on the Lokpal Bill, he should present these before the standing committee of Parliament which will look into it.

The bill follows a series of corruption scandals involving government officials. Transparency International ranked India, one of few yet to ratify the United Nations convention against corruption, at 78, placing it below neighboring rival China.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-04

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