New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday said that he will organise a big protest against the "deaf and dumb" government, who is turning a blind eye to whistleblowers who are being targeted while fighting corruption.
Ahead of his one-day fast to demand justice to slain IPS officer Narender Kumar and a strong law to protect whistleblowers, he said many people have sacrificed their lives while fighting corruption. He alleged that the government has not conducted any probe despite some incidents that took place three years back.
"Their (whistleblowers') mothers, their children, their fathers, their wives are crying for justice. But this government has gone dumb and deaf. It is not listening to the cries of people. There will be a big struggle. Then the government will listen. The government came up with MNREGA but these people were killed for trying to improve it," Anna Hazare told reporters before heading to Rajghat from where he will go to Jantar Mantar for his one-day hunger strike.
A big crowd has already assembled at the Jantar Mantar to welcome the anti-corruption crusader, who is seeking protection for whistleblowers and justice for the family of slain IPS officer Narendra Kumar.
Anna will protest the death of Madhya Pradesh IPS officer Narendra Kumar, who was killed by suspected mining mafia on March 8 in Madhya Pradesh. Narendra Kumar's family is also likely to be part of the Anna's fast at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.
Anna is demanding protection for whistleblowers, a portion that has been removed from the final version of the bill drafted by the government. Families of murdered whistleblowers like S Manjunath and Amit Jethwa are likely to be at the fast venue.
This will be the first hunger strike undertaken by 74-year-old Anna Hazare after he called off his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill in Mumbai last December owing to failing health.
"We have been preparing for the last ten days. We have been sending out SMSes, distributing pamphlets and doing street plays in Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region)," said an official of Team Anna. "We are focusing on the youth and street plays and interactive sessions are are being conducted in Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)," added the official.
More than 1,000 police personnel will be deputed at Jantar Mantar, a senior police officer said on Saturday. Delhi Police have given conditional permission to Team Anna for the protest on the issue of alleged killings of several honest men and officers by organised mafia or in terror attacks.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Seju Kuruvilla said a legal undertaking has been taken from Team Anna. "The organisers have confirmed the presence of the father of IPS officer Narendra Kumar who was killed in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh while intercepting a tractor-trolley carrying illegally-mined stones," he said.
He said the family of Indian Oil Corporation officer Manjunath Shanmugam, who was shot dead in Lakhimpur Kheri while trying to stop sale of adulterated oil, is also likely to be present at Jantar Mantar on Sunday.
Kuruvilla further added that Team Anna informed him about the presence of around 40 such families at Jantar Mantar whose kin were either killed by mafia or during terror attacks.
"We have told them that the crowd should not be more than 1,000 people. Around 10 metal detectors will be placed at three entry points with 1,000 police personnel to avoid any untoward incident," he added.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said that that the government's draft of the Lokpal Bill is weak. Bedi said that Anna has full recovered from his illness. "Anna's health is not a concern. He is well and has recovered substantially," she said.
"The kind of deaths the whistleblowers' familes have suffered could have been prevented. All people are looking for is an agency they can trust," she said.
On the separate law for whistleblowers, she said, "The Whistlebowers Bill which they have drafted goes back to the same police systems. It's not an independent system."
(With additional inputs from agencies)