Social activist Anna Hazare and other trustees of his non-governmental organization (NGO), Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan, have been suspended for not dropping the word “anti-corruption” from its name.
Joint charity commissioner of Pune region, Shivkumar Dige, had in June last year directed NGOs to drop ‘anti-corruption’ references from their names and threatened to suspend the trustees if they refused to comply with the order.
“As my order was not complied with, the trustees are being suspended till final orders in the case. The inspector at the trust registration office in Ahmednagar is being appointed as its administrator,” Dige said in an order passed three days ago.
He had asked charitable organisations to drop words such as ‘Bhrashtachar Virodhi’, ‘Bhrashtachar Nirmulan’ and ‘Against Corruption’ from their names, on the ground that fighting graft did not fall in the domain of such organizations which should stick to charity and social service.
The issue snowballed into a major face-off after Hazare announced his refusal to change the name of his NGO. He said the government should focus on removing corruption rather than harassing NGOs.
Dige had served notices to 20 NGOs in Pune division, asking them to change their names after receiving complaints about these organizations ‘blackmailing’ public servants by threatening to expose corruption. “It’s the responsibility of the government to check corruption and it has a mechanism. The job of the NGOs is to carry out social work and they should stick to it,” said an official in the charity commissioner’s office.