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Posted On: 21 August 2011 09:56 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:11 pm

Indian expats support anti-graft activist

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There is a surge of support for the Indian anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare (pictured) in the large Indian expat community in Qatar. An idea of popularity of Hazare can be had from the fact that a core group has been formed in the community to create awareness about the issue. As GCC citizens are worried over large expatriate communities living in their midst importing socio-political problems from their home countries, a core group of Indian sympathisers of anti-corruption crusader in India, Anna Hazare, met here last evening to mull ways to raise awareness in their community about the movement. The core group comprising more than a dozen members of ‘India Against Corruption’ (IAC), the NGO run by Team Anna in India, met here informally and decided to launch a website back home in just a few days. People in India giving bribes to officials to get their work done could be able to key in basic details, and this would help the website managers to build a database over time. Once an anti-corruption bill is passed by the Indian parliament for which the IAC is fighting, the database could serve as evidence, sources said. “Even if the database cannot be used as evidence, it could be a valuable tool in fighting and raising awareness against graft back home,” said a source. Representatives of the group plan to meet Indian Embassy officials here today to find out if it is possible to hold a meeting of community members as a follow-up of New Delhi’s announcement yesterday that Indians could express their views on the proposed Lokpal Bill within 15 days. If the Indian mission refuses to cooperate, the group plans to kick off a signature campaign to urge the Indian government to make the proposed Lokpal Bill effective. At the same time, Hazare’s anti-graft movement back home has evoked mixed reactions from some people affiliated to political organisations. Some Muslims in the community this newspaper spoke to said they did not approve of the movement since it was backed by Hindu rightists like the BJP and the RSS. “There seems to be a hidden agenda since the BJP and the RSS are backing Hazare,” said Iqbal Manna, though adding that the cause he had taken up was the root of all the problem back home and every Indian’s concern. But Ranjit Nair, another Indian, was all praise for Hazare and said he was fighting for a very genuine cause. “But his insistence that the anti-graft bill be passed in a short while is not pragmatic,” he added. Also, an autonomous body (Lokpal) he is calling for to keep a check on the executive is not practically possible, said Nair. He, though, added that he heard of Hazare only after his present movement was launched. P N Baburaj, yet another Indian, said the issue Hazare was championing was every Indian’s concern but the method adopted by him is not appropriate. “Sidelining the mainstream political parties can prove dangerous for the Indian democracy,” Baburaj said, adding that he saw a deeper conspiracy and foreign hand behind the entire move. Still another Indian said there was more frustration among Indians living abroad when it came to the pathetic situation at home and not many Indians wanted to go back because of widespread corruption. “Imagine that it took a 74-year-old man to make us realise what we should do to fight corruption in our midst. It’s high time we fought corruption in high places and refurbished the image of our country in the world,” said the Indian not wanting his name in print. The GCC states, including Qatar, have a very large Indian population.