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Anna Hazare responds to damage of statues
 
(Jammu, Mar 7, 2018): Social activist Anna Hazare today expressed displeasure over damage to the statues across the country and said "nobody has the right to do such things".

He also said the war between India and Pakistan would push both the countries three decades back but "the country should go for it if Pakistan fails to understand (the language of peace)."

However, Hazare had an advice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir that peaceful means, and not lathis and guns, would help resolve their issues as "non-violence is more powerful way than violence".

Talking to reporters after addressing his maiden public meeting here, he said the bringing down or vandalisation of statues is not a good thing happening in the country.

"It is not good what is happening in the country. These statues have been built in recognition of their work," the 80-year-old activist said in response to a question about damage caused to statues of various personalities in different parts of the country.

Two statues of communist icon Vladimir Lenin were pulled down in Tripura and a bust of Dravidian leader E V Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar, in Tamil Nadu, over the past couple of days while a bust of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was today vandalised in south Kolkata.

Hazare said that more soldiers are losing their lives in ceasefire violations by Pakistan than in wars.

"More jawans are getting killed nowadays than what used to be the casualty figures during wars...A war is not a good thing to happen for both the countries. It will push both of us 30 years back," he said.

However, he said "if Pakistan is not going to understand, then a war should take place, once for all."

Anna reached here on the invitation of International Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Council chairperson Manjot Singh Kohli to seek support of the people for his upcoming agitation over Jan Lokpal and farmers issues in New Delhi later this month. However, the attendance at the rally was very low, which Kohli attributed to lack of campaign due to busy scheduled of the social activist.

"There is no need to get frustrated over the turnout. I salute your efforts as youth is the power of the country," he said in his address.

Asked about message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Hazare said the country is faced with a lot of problems but these would not get resolved through "lathis or guns".

"The more we adopt peaceful means, the more the issues will get resolved. Non-violence is more powerful than violent means," he said apparently referring to militants. He said the people of Kashmir are not outsiders but "our own brothers".

Hazare said the whole world praised the 2011 agitation spearheaded by him in the country. "Not a single stone was thrown anywhere during that agitation", he claimed.

Earlier in his address, he lashed out at the BJP-led government at the Centre, saying "it is not moving towards strengthening democracy in the country but adopting a dictatorial approach like the British".

"I kept mum for the last three years. I was hoping for ache din (good days). But three-and-a-half years passed but the good days are nowhere near. Since it is going towards bad days, I was forced to speak out and restart the agitation," he said.

Hazare reiterated that people like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal would not be able to use his platform.

"This time I am very cautious and I am seeking a Rs 100 affidavit from members to pledge that they will not take sides, support any party or ideology and service the society and nation. So far, 5000 people have submitted their pledge and become part of the movement which is getting stronger day by day," he said, urging people to join his agitation that starts in Delhi on March 23.

He said that farmers' issue is the biggest in the country and it would be the focus of his proposed agitation.

"Over the past 22 years, 12 lakh farmers committed suicide in the country. The government is more concerned for corporate sector and have no concern for the farmers," Hazare said.

He said the farmers are compelled to take such extreme steps because the government has failed to ensure fair price to their produce.

He described the steps announced by the government for the farmers as "eye wash" and said "they are doling out carrots with an eye on the next elections".

"What happened to the bill pending in the parliament to give pension to farmers above 60 years having nothing for survival? Why Petrol and diesel was kept outside GST?" he asked in the same breath and answered himself that "they are doing it all to strengthen the party and fill its coffers so that they can buy a vote for Rs one lakh. (PTI)


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