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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 48 New Delhi, November 21, 2015

Social Activist of Rajasthan Dies after 32 Days’ Fast

Saturday 21 November 2015, by Bharat Dogra


It is a measure of the growing insensitivity of the authorities that serious efforts were not made in time to save the life of leading social activist and former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra. This social activist died after 32 days of a protest fast to demand prohibition and a strong Lok Ayukta in Rajasthan.

Although he was elected as an MLA from Suratgarh several years back, Chhabra was known more as a Gandhian social activist than a political leader. He was deeply troubled by the social disruption (apart from adverse health and economic impacts on people) caused by the fast increasing sale and consumption of liquor even in remote villages. Earlier also he had taken up fasts on this issue and he had obtained assurances from the State Government regarding strong anti-liquor steps. His colleagues say that his latest fast was only for the implementation of promises that had been made to him and other activists by the previous government.

In our democracy there has been a well-established tradition that the government generally acts in time to save the life of social activists and leaders who take up such fasts on issues of public interest. It is a reflection of the lately heightened insensitivity of the governments at the Centre and in the States that such efforts were not made by the Rajasthan State Government in time. By the time the government made some arrangements for medicare it was too late. This happened despite the scene of the fast being in Jaipur, the State capital.

Condolence meetings have been organised at several places in Rajasthan where it was conveyed that the tasks taken up by Gurusharan Chhabra will be carried forward by other social activists and organisations.

Bharat Dogra
C-27, Raksha Kunj,
Paschim Vihar, New Delhi-110063
Ph. 011-25255303

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