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A tete-a-tete with Anna Hazare fails to impress the Urdu scribes in the Capital.

By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi: Social activist Anna Hazarae miserably failed to impress the Urdu journalists as he was evasive on minority issues. In a bid to garner the support of the Muslim community to his ‘Jan Chetna Morcha’, which is spearheading the campaign to dislodge the Congress-led UPA government at the Center, Anna Hazare interacted with a group of journalists in Urdu media for the first time here. However, he was not forthcoming on any problems related to the community. In reply to barrage of questions on Communalism, communal riots, Gujarat pogrom, chief minister Narendra Modi, Babri Masjid and other related issues, either he feigned ignorance or asked for evidence. When a journalist pointed out the Justice Srikrishna Commission had very well documented and indicted Shiv Sena, the RSS and the BJP along with Mumbai police in perpetrating the 1992-93 anti- Muslim violence in Mumbai, he reluctantly admitted this but his common refrain was that byavastha parivartan kerne se sab theek ho jayga, (things will be all right after system is changed). When this correspondent pointed out that earlier he (Anna Hazre) was identified the corruption as the root cause of all ailments and campaigned for a Jan Lok Pal (ombudsman) and now he had changed the track and urging disbandment of all political parties, he said that he has now realized that the ‘Constitution did not recognize formation of political parties and this view was held by Mahatma Gandhi too who pleaded for disbanding of the Congress Party too. As a whole Anna Hazare sounded vague on several issues and even betrayed his half-baked knowledge.
The interaction was organized by the weekly Chauthi Duniya, which is published in English, Hindi and Urdu. The idea behind the meet was to guess the mood of Muslims in the country and to convince them of the need to join his movement. Former army chief, Gen. V. K. Singh, who usually is seen flanked with Anna Hazre, stoutly defended security forces alleged excesses in Kashmir. In reply to a question on the Kunan Poshpura gang-rape incident, he said it was false propaganda against army as B. G. Vergese committee gave clean chit to the Army. “Out of 100 complaints against the Army, 96 were proved false and army took action when there were genuine complaints”, he remarked.
Editor of Chauthi Duniya, Santosh Bhartiya, who is also taking active part in the Anna movement, said that the Muslims did not take interest in general social causes and urged the community to support the Anna movement as it is in the interest of country. On occasions, a few journalists were also invited to speak their mind. DNA Delhi bureau Chief Iftikhar Gilani said the community’s main concern was insecurity. Citing several examples in this regard, he asked as to how they are expected to participate in the nation building, when their own security is at stake? Publisher of the Daily Qauami Salamati, Siraj Pracha, who left the BJP after Gujarat pogrom, narrated his bitter experience in the saffron party saying they always used Muslims for their ulterior ends.