AHMEDNAGAR/GHAZIABAD, Aug 4 � Anna Hazare and his civil society camp members burnt copies of the Lokpal Bill introduced by Government in Parliament today, calling the legislation �weak, anti-poor and anti-Dalit,� reports PTI.
The protest action in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Hazare�s native Ralegaon Siddhi village in Maharashtra�s Ahmednagar district evoked a sharp condemnation from the Government which said it was an �insult and affront� to Parliament.
Team Anna says it will burn drafts of the bill till August 16 when Hazare has decided to launch an indefinite agitation against the bill.
The Gandhian said he would go ahead with his fast in New Delhi till a �strong� Lokpal Bill is brought in. The Hazare camp is protesting the exclusion of several recommendations made by it on the bill.
Hazare and his supporters burnt copies of the Bill in Ralegaon Siddhi village while his associates Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi led the protest in Kaushambi area in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Amidst slogan shouting against the government, Hazare said it was the last chance to eradicate corruption from the country and that the protest should be organised all over to ensure that a strong Lokpal Bill is enacted.
�This is a bad and weak Bill which is introduced in Parliament. We need a new and strong Bill. I trusted them when they said they will bring a strong law and ended my fast in April. They cheated me.
�But at the protest starting from August 16, I am not going to withdraw from my fast on some assurances. What we need is a strong bill,� he said.
In New Delhi, Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who is a member of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill, said the Bill is now a property of Parliament and the act of burning its copies was an �insult and affront to Parliament�.
Sibal said the Hazare camp should have taken recourse to Parliamentary procedures to flag their concerns.
Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said the civil society should not concentrate its energy on burning the copies of the bill.
�Let there be fire in the belly, fire in the heart.... Let�s not burn copies. Let�s have faith in Parliament,� he said.
Khurshid said people indulging in actions like that seen today should come clean on their faith in Parliamentary democracy.
�You should ask them (Team Anna) about this as the Lokpal Bill is now the property of Parliament. They claim that they have full faith in Parliament.
�Those who express faith in Parliament are themselves burning the copy of the Bill. You should ask them what kind of belief is this,� he said.