End fast, citizens appeal to Team Anna
A former army chief, a spiritual guru, an actor, and an ex-poll panel chief are among those who appealed Thursday to Team Anna to end their fast for a strong Lokpal bill
With Team Anna's indefinite protest continuing for the ninth day, ex-army chief General V.K. Singh, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other prominent people made the appeal to call off the fast following their deteriorating health.
A written appeal signed by 23 people from various walks of life called upon all the fasting Team Anna members, led by Anna Hazare, to give up their expectations from the government and form a political establishment to fight corruption.
Three Team Anna members -- Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai -- have been fasting since July 25 along with 350 other supporters. Hazare joined them Sunday.
"We call upon them to focus their energies on creating an alternative political force that is democratic and accountable, ethical and non-violent and capable of leading an electoral revolution to democratize and decentralize power and make the power structure of the country more accountable to the people," said the appeal that was read out by Bollywood actor Anupam Kher.
Former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh, veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, Justice N. Santosh Hegde and professors from several universities were among the other signatories.
"Indian democracy stands at a crossroad. It needs a new wind. We urge the fasting volunteers to give up their fast in order to accept this historic challenge. We also urge all democratic citizens, movements and organisations to join hands with them for creation of such a movement," Kher said.
"Unfortunately, the political establishment has not cared to listen, let alone respond, to this voice. The government has not only stonewalled these demands, it has also demonstrated little political will to bring the guilty to book. The opposition fares no better on this score," he said.
He said both the government and the opposition parties have let the common people down.
"The government may not have responded, but the people of this country cannot remain silent. These brave and selfless volunteers must not sacrifice their health at the altar of an insensitive political establishment. Their presence is needed for fulfilling the dream of swaraj nurtured by our freedom struggle," Kher added.