Anti-corruption activists to conduct ‘Ghotala Yatra’ in Delhi on Thursday

An umbrella group of anti-corruption groups will conduct a ‘Ghotala Yatra’ or ‘Scam Procession’ at Delhi’s Mandi House area tomorrow.

The rally, with the cry ‘freedom from corruption’ will start at 11 AM and be followed by a sitting protest at Jantar Mantar — the traditional venue for protests in the capital.

Among the organizations involved in the rally are Swaraj Abhiyan, the split-away group of the Aam Aadmi Party headed by Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, the National Alliance of People’s Movements — a pan-India group of various smaller organizations working in the area of tribal rights and related fields, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Jucidical Reforms and the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information.

The protestors have six demands, including the setting up an anti-corruption ombudsman known as Lokpal.

The current state government in Delhi, headed by Arvind Kejriwal, was elected on the promise of setting up a Lokpal for the state government. However, three years on, it is yet to set up one. Similarly, the central government too has not set up an independent anti-corruption investigation agency.

Other demands include the non implementation of the ‘Whistle Blowers Protection’ law. The activists will also protest rising intolerance and attacks on freedom of speech.

One of the demands of the protestors is for a government inquiry into the detailed, exhaustive and lengthy allegations of corruption made by Kalikho Pul, who was the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh till he committed suicide in August last year.

Pul, who has a reputation as an honest politician, had said that his own compatriots in the government were preventing him from carrying out his work. In a detailed letter, he went on to name several former and sitting politicians and bureaucrats and made many detailed allegations of corruption against them.

The activists will also seek an inquiry into the notes and documents seized from two corporate houses in India — Sahara and Aditya Birla Group. The diaries contain the names or initials of several prominent politicians with numbers against them. Prashant Bhushan, who is also a prominent anti-corruption legal activist, had tried to get the courts to order an inquiry based on the documents, but failed to get much headway.