The Many Colours Of Team Anna
The recent physical attack on lawyer Prasant Bhushan by some hooligans calling themselves members of Ram Sena in the Supreme Court was not only deplorable, but from the security point of view, threat to the highest seat of judiciary in the country. Even the next day, supporters of Mr Prasant Bhushan were attacked. The slipper thrown at another core member of the Team Anna, Mr Arvind Kejriwal in Lucknow, though by a lone man, was another example of rowdy elements, as people say, getting their few moments of glory over the television channels. Democracy does not condone violence.
Who are those people who attacked the two stalwarts of Team Anna (TA)? The two attacks were on two very different issues, as claimed by the attackers. Mr Bhushan was attacked allegedly for his support to plebiscite on Kashmir. Mr Kejriwal was attacked by one Mr Jitendra Pathak for his partisan approach to corruption attacking the Congress party only. But were these people set up by political interests? This needs to be investigated.
Anna Hazare’s character and background are impeccable. He owns nothing and lives in a temple. He has dedicated his life to the service of the people of India. His anti-corruption campaign and movement for a strong Lokpal Bill is admirable and applauded by the people of the country. In such movements the number of sympathisers and supporters are many times more than the people on the ground. At the same time it must not be forgotten that the media, especially the electronic media, that exposed the scams on which TA initially rode.
The TA movement, especially how it is being guided by some of its most important core members may not be seen in isolation. It must be seen in a much wider context of other internal developments and foreign policy, at the centre of which is naturally Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. The buck stops with him unfortunately.
Why has a strong movement against nuclear power plants emerged? India is an energy-starved country. India requires many more coal-fired power plants and hydro-electric power. But both have their constraints and limitations beyond a point. Coal-based plants lead to pollution and we are already feeling the impact. Large hydropower facilities require huge dislocation of population and the problem of relocating them satisfactorily. Solar power, wind power, the under conception geothermal power all have their role but with their limitations. Oil and natural gas have huge roles, but they are basically import driven.
India, therefore, requires contribution from all power-producing sectors, and nuclear energy is an important contributor. There have been three nuclear accidents in the world of note till now. They are the Three Mile Island in the US, Chernobyl in Russia, and the most recent Fukusima in Japan damaged by a combination by an unprecedented scale of earthquake accompanied by tsunami. In fact, more people died of the earthquake and tsunami than from the Fukushima plant radiation. Overall, taking population, efficacy and safety together, nuclear power appears to be the best. Imagine a major hydroelectric power facility being hit at 8.9 Richter scale earthquake and the devastation it can cause. The Kalpakkam nuclear power project withstood tsunami with technological aplomb. The Jaitapur nuclear power project would come up with new French reactor only after the reactor passes most stringent tests. Hence, why these uproar?
The Indo-US nuclear deal has hit a roadblock for the US reactor supplier business because of the Indian nuclear liability law. The US has moved to block India’s import of reactors from France and Russia on the issue. If the US cannot come in, others cannot. A section of the Indian nuclear community led by people like Prof Praful Bidwai are on a crusade against even indigenously built nuclear power reactors. Indian nuclear power plant is a huge business estimated about $100 billion by 2030. Do we see a catch?
Returning to TA. It started very well, but from the very beginning there were traces that certain core members were using it very succinctly for a different agenda. Efforts were made from the very initial stages to expand the movement from the Lokpal Bill to anti-Congressism and attacking the very fundamentals of Parliament and even the Constitution as it appears. The idea was to diminish the value of the Parliament. In a recent television interview, Mr Kejriwal said Mr Anna Hazare was above the Parliament. To hold that argument he added that the people were above the Parliament as the Preamble of the Constitution starts with “we, the people of India ….” etc.
This absurdity from a person who is an IIT graduate, a former civil servant, a Magsaysay Award winner who styles himself as the protector of the Holy Grail – in this case the purity of India. His speech in Lucknow again attacked the Congress on corruption failing to mention the BJP scandal in Karnataka. He hopes that his strategy to absolve the BJP will help him demolish the Congress and Dr. Manmohan Singh. But Mr Kejriwal does not know that the BJP does not trust him an inch. They see that he has an agenda which may not be purely indigenous, nationalistic or free of an ulterior motive. The BJP actually understands that the likes of Mr Kejriwal are trying to use them.
It may not be out of place to note that Mr Kejriwal and his NGO was a recipient of Ford Foundation funding for his activities to bring in the RTI act. But he was just a player and not the core proponent of the RTI act. It is, therefore, a little surprising how he got his Magsaysay Award. Then awards are awards and we are not to judge. Many American foundations and government NGOs are infiltrated by the CIA. For example, the absconding RAW spy, Ravindra Singh, was recruited by his sister who is a CIA officer with the USAID.
Mr Prasant Bhushan, an eminent lawyer and wellknown human rights activists, was attacked for his views on Kashmir. He emphasised that plebiscite for Kashmir was correct and moral thing to do, and he has also described the Indian security forces in Kashmir as fascists. He had little say anything about the Pakistan trained and sponsored terrorists in Kashmir.
As a highly educated and informed person, Mr Bhushan must know that the cause for the UN called plebiscite in Kashmir does not exist any longer. The UN resolution of 1948 said (i) Pakistan must vacate the area of Kashmir it had occupied (ii) next, Indian security forces then must stabilise the situation, and (iii) only then a plebiscite would be held. May Mr Bhushan answer when the first two mandatory steps were sabotaged by Pakistan, how could the third step be undertaken?
When Mr Bhushan demanded plebiscite for Kashmir he must have meant the Kashmir valley like the separatist and Pakistan. Otherwise, if Jammu and Ladakh were included there was no chance for an independent Kashmir or a Kashmir acceding to Pakistan. Mr Bhushan has apparently forgotten that the Maharaja of Kashmir acceded to India as per the instruments of accession.
Mr Bhushan’s position on Kashmir echoes that of the Pakistan, and that of the hardline separatists like Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, who said in the past that Pakistan was written on his heart. An Independent Kashmir was an aim of the US for strategic reasons. Mr Bhusan evidently wanted to incite a calming Kashmir where tourism has rebounded the couple of years, separatism psychology is diminishing, and terrorist infiltration from Pakistan has been significantly checked by the Indian forces. Mr Prasant Bhushan has challenged the Indian Constitution and India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Obviously, there is a method in his madness.
If Mr Bhushan’s Kashmir activity is not treason, then what is treason?
It is, therefore, not surprising that Team Anna is breaking up. Anna has dissociated himself from Mr Bhushan’s Kashmir position, nor is he happy with Mr Kejriwal’s position. Because of these views, Team Anna is beginning to crumble.
Ms Kiran Bedi is an admirable lady. But the new reports, which Ms Bedi has not denied, that at least on 12 occasions she travelled by air in the economy class that too using her privileged position as a national awardee while she charged her hosts business class fare has sullied her image. Her explanation that she was using the fare differences to fund her NGO is not good enough under the circumstances. Ms Bedi has been preaching the nation on honesty and probity, but showed her own clay feet. It may be a trivial matter but not when she and her colleagues in Team Anna taken upon themselves the role cleaning the government and the society of corruption.
There is little doubt left that insidious agenda are riding the Anna wave and they to not augur well for India. It is left do the reader to join the dots mentioned above and others not mentioned, to come to a conclusion. Movements on the ground require money. This development is not Mahatma Gandhi’s call to fight the British colonialist. This is more like the colour revolutions of Ukraine and Georgia.l
By Bhaskar Roy