Date: 22 Apr 2011


LOK PAL BILL. INTIMIDATION BY CORRUPT GOVERNMENT \\\\\\\\\\\\ Dear friends,Last week, millions of us were shocked to read that our anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was backing down on key demands of the Jan Lokpal Bill. But the reports were false. Who spread them? A Minister on the bill drafting committee. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Now the press is full of new allegations against other civil society representatives on the Committee. We knew those in power would do anything to stall and derail the Jan Lokpal Bill. Now they have put their media-spin machine into full-swing to smear our leaders and divide the movement. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ Our only hope for a strong Jan Lokpal is to stand up to every dirty tactic the politicians use to kill it. Let's raise a massive call for PM Singh to rein in the smear campaign, identify those Ministers responsible and kick them off the committee by the next meeting on May 2nd. When the petition reaches 100,000, we’ll cover Delhi with mobile billboards and follow PM Singh around until the Lokpal process is cleaned up: \\\\\\\\\\\\\ http://www.avaaz.org/en/singh_stop_the_slander/?vl \\\\\\\\\\\\ Earlier this week, an anonymous Minister sent key journalists an SMS saying civil society representatives were caving to government pressure. The SMS said: “Civil Society members have Diluted their own draft a lot. It is now a far more doable draft than earlier. They have diluted the provision that Cabinet Ministers could be suspended. Judges cud be suspended. Also does not mention the Lokpal having powers of Appointing and Disciplinary Authority.” None of this was true -- the sms was a trap for the media to run a story that would sow doubt across the nation, and pull our movement apart. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ Then, an audio CD was anonymously delivered to the media that allegedly records Shanti Bhushan, the civil society co-chair of the drafting committee, bribing judges to influence decisions. The Bhushans quickly proved through an independent lab that the CD was doctored, but yesterday the government laboratory issued a report that disagrees, claiming it needs more material for a conclusive finding. \\\\\\\\\\\ Only an independent investigation with adequate evidence can make a judgment on the CD story. But what is already clear is that the government has used spurious sources, deception and inconclusive evidence to wage war in the media to create a storm of public confusion. \\\\\\\\\\ Let us have no doubt the Jan Lokpal Bill is a serious threat to high up officials and politicians who are used to the shroud of impunity. For 42 years governments have found ways to bury it, and this smear campaign is not a surprise. But this is our Bill and if we are vigilant and stick together with one voice over the next few months, we have a unique chance to truly take on corruption. \\\\\\\\\\\ Let's tell the government that we condemn the smear tactics and are not distracted by conspiracy and doubt. Sign the petition to stop the slander and start the clean up: \\\\\\\\\ http://www.avaaz.org/en/singh_stop_the_slander/?vl \\\\\\\\\\\ “Divide and Rule” is how the British oppressed us for 200 years and that is exactly what the Government is doing now. As we come together to free ourselves from the deception and impunity that handicap our great nation, let’s demand that our political and civil society leaders act as the exemplars they should be, and start work to get a strong Jan Lokpal Bill to rid India of the scourge of corruption. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ With hope and determination, \\\\\\ Ricken, Saloni, Shibayan, Ben, Alice and the whole Avaaz team. \\\\\\\\\ SOURCES: \\\\\\\ The Lokpal plot thickens: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/guest-writer/the-lokpal-plot-thickens/articleshow/8033546.cms Efforts underway to delay Lokpal bill: http://www.rediff.com/news/report/efforts-underway-to-delay-lok-pal-bill-feels-insider/20110419.htm Lokpal activists -- smear campaign to discredit us: http://news.outlookindia.com/item.aspx?718979 How the Government is keeping the Lokpal at bay: http://www.governancenow.com/views/columns/keeping-lokpal-bay Anna Hazare’s letter to Sonia Gandhi about the smears: http://www.sahilonline.org/english/news.php?cid=3&nid=10798 Sonia Gandhi responds to Hazare’s letter: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/sonia-gandhi-plays-safe-on-anna-hazare-letter/1/135871.html India Against Corruptions posts SMS and smear campaign details: https://www.facebook.com/IndiACor?sk=notes The Bhushan fight continues: http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/21/stories/2011042160370100.htm 000000000