Indian Yoga Guru Launches Anti-Corruption Fast

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 12:20 am (UTC-5)
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India's most famous yoga guru has begun a hunger strike in an effort to force the government to take action on the country's deep corruption problems.

Baba Ramdev, who hosts a daily yoga television show, began his fast Saturday in the capital, New Delhi, where hundreds of his devotees have gathered to support him.

Senior Indian officials failed Friday to persuade the maverick guru to call off his protest.

Ramdev has said millions of people who want to see the country free of corruption and get social justice will participate in the campaign.

News of billion-dollar scams in real estate, telecommunications, and last year's Commonwealth Games in India have fueled popular anger at the government. Earlier this year, a U.S. research group report estimated nearly one-half-trillion dollars had been illegally moved out of India during the past six decades.

Ramdev says it is time to get some of that “black money” back, and bring those responsible to justice.

His hunger strike picks up where a similar movement by 73-year old social activist Anna Hazare left off in April. Both are aimed at pushing the government to pass a bill establishing a new, citizen-led organization with power to identify and prosecute corrupt officials.

Ramdev's organization of yoga-related media and health products reaches tens of millions of people in India and around the world.