TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
IN TODAY'S PAPER
WEEKLY FEATURES
CITIES AND REGIONS
ARCHIVES
Since 1st March, 1999
 
THE TELEGRAPH
 
 
CIMA Gallary
Email This Page
Spontaneous protest? Guess their age

Patna, Aug. 17: Three-year-old Guddu (name changed), barely out of his nappies and still unable to handle his tiffin box, wobbled as he tried to clutch on to a placard that read, “Gandhi is the greatest, Anna is the latest”.

Guddu was among the 60 and odd kids made to line up outside the premises of a playschool today and protest with the placard — a “plaything” for them — showing solidarity with Anna Hazare.

The children, all from the same playschool, were hardly aware of the “big cause” they were made to champion. But the school management officials, who also run a bookstore nearby, insisted the “protest” was “spontaneous”. “Look, it is a spontaneous movement against corruption… kids and women are hitting the streets,” said a management official.

The “protest”, said sources, was fine-tuned by members of various RSS wings.

Several local news channels were there to capture the “rare scene” of tiny tots coming out “spontaneously” in support of the Hazare-sponsored campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill that is being projected as the “brahmastra (ultimate weapon)” to liberate India from the scourge of corruption.

Razi Ahmad, a Gandhian and secretary of the Gandhi Sangrahalaya here, was furious when some organisations — mostly associated with right wing parties — approached him to “guide” the school kids about the Lokpal Bill and corruption. “I have lived life following the footsteps of Gandhi and JP (Jai Prakash Narayan). I hate the un-Gandhian way of doing things. I am sure Gandhi and JP would have been ashamed to see the way you people are using their name for your politics,” the octogenarian Gandhian told some of the people who claimed to be Hazare’s followers.

Asked the reason for his angst against a campaign sponsored by a fellow Gandhian, the octogenarian Razi told The Telegraph: “Have you ever fathomed the hazard of roping in innocent school kids in such activities? Schoolchildren are the future of India. They should be handled with care. But some people are using the kids to achieve their political goals. Civil society should be aware of such dangerous elements.”

The scenes today resembled those at Kargil Chowk yesterday. Tots from different schools — most of them private ones — wore Anna Hazare masks. Members of the Rashtriya Pragati Party and Chintan, which described themselves as “apolitical” organisations, looked out for Muslim children.

Asked why they were looking for Muslim kids for a movement against corruption, a Pragati Party leader said: “The roza (fast) is on. Kids on fast will generate more sympathy for the cause,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly and a JP movement activist, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, too strongly objected to school kids being roped in for the campaign and accused the organisations doing so of “orchestrating spontaneity”. “The most pernicious thing is they are operating in the karmbhoomi of Gandhi and JP,” said Siddiqui.

Both Razi and Siddiqui, however, said Hazare’s arrest was wrong. “Be it Anna or even RSS or other outfit members, it is the people’s right to stage a dharna or protest. But we should know that the Lokpal or any other law has to be enacted by Parliament and not by any extra-constitutional authority. We can only give our opinion. Parliament stands mandated by the people to make the laws, not us,” said Siddiqui.

Top
Email This Page

 More stories in Bihar

  • Code key to quick service
  • Ragpickers take Anna route over eviction
  • Health tips for adolescents
  • Emergency jab at UPA
  • Kissen mulls legal action
  • Work waits for protest
  • Kids run over, 'killer' burnt alive
  • Labourers to hitch ride on pedal power
  • No fine in a fortnight, but all not fine at airport
  • Stay on bar on loaded vehicles
  • Girl kills self in hostel
  • Spontaneous protest? Guess their age
  • Ruckus over truant VC
  • Focus on flawless accounts at VC meet
  • Penalty for overstay in jail
  • CBI starts crusader death probe
  • High on style, cops low on action
  • Court squashes ban-film plea
  • A2Z fate in civic body court
  • Deafening demonstration on campus
  • Drain water, filth flow freely into Ganga
  • Saha leads race for IAS top job
  • Health cradle plea for research unit
  • Flood plays havoc in Bihar
  • Biowaste blot on capital clinics