New Delhi, Aug 30: Booker Prize winning writer Arundhati Roy on Tuesday cast doubts over Anna Hazare's anti-graft campaign saying the civil society's Jan Lokpal Bill is a “dangerous piece of legislation”.
“I am skeptical about the legislation (Jan Lokpal Bill) itself for a good number of reasons. I think the legislation is a dangerous piece of work,” Roy told a news channel in an interview.
Alleging that the civil society used public anger in their favour, the Booker Prize winner novelist said “You (civil society) used the real and legitimate anger of the people against corruption to push through this specific piece of legislation which is very regressive. It could have turned from something inclusive to destructive and dangerous.”
Calling the Hazare-led movement a “copy book World Bank agenda”, Ms. Roy said “It was an NGO-driven movement by Kiran Bedi, (Arvind) Kejriwal and (Manish) Sisodia.
“Three of them run NGOs and all the three core team members are Magsaysay Award winners... World Bank and Ford Foundation fund the anti-corruption campaigns. This is copy book World Bank agenda though they might have not meant it.”
The writer said “Anna Hazare was picked up and propped up as the saint for the masses. He was not the brain behind the movement. We really need to be worried about it.”
She also said the Hazare-led movement was not the same thing as a people's movement and accused the media of engineering it.
“Obviously people joined in but all of them were not middle class and many came for a sort of reality show well orchestrated by media campaigns,” she said.
“For a nation of one billion people, the media did not find anything else to report. Certain major TV channels campaigned for said to be doing so. That's a kind of corruption for me at first place,” she said.
“If it was only for TRP then why not to settle for pornography or something which gives more TRP?” she asked.
Roy said she is glad that the civil society's Jan Lokpal bill did not go through in parliament. "I am extremely glad that the Jan Lokpal bill did not go through parliament in its current form," Roy said.
"I think the legislation is a dangerous piece of work. You used the real and legitimate anger of the people against corruption to push through this specific piece of legislation, which is very regressive according to me," she added.
"I wanted to indicate why these NGOs are participating to mediate in what the public policy should be. World Bank and Ford Foundation fund the anti-corruption campaigns. Anna Hazare was picked up and propped up as the saint for the masses. He was not the brain behind the movement," she added.
Talking about the Jan Lokpal bill, Roy said that it attempts to create a form of "parallel oligarchy". "The Jan Lokpal team, including the chairman, is to be selected by a pool of elite people and they are a pool of elite people. You have a bureaucracy which will have the policing power, the power to tap phones, prosecute, charge and judge from the prime minister to the bottom," she said.
Roy also questioned the media for its 24X7 coverage of Hazare's 12-day fast. "For a nation of one billion people, the media did not find anything else to report," she said, adding that "certain major TV channels campaigned for" the movement. "That's a kind of corruption for me at first place".