Indian Activist to Hold Anti-Corruption Hunger Strike

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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A veteran Indian activist says he will hold a hunger strike Wednesday to protest corruption in the country, as well as the recent police crackdown on a peaceful fast led by a popular yoga guru.

Anna Hazare said Tuesday his one-day protest in New Delhi will go on, despite police denying permission for the gathering.

Wednesday's planned hunger strike comes just days after authorities raided a mass anti-corruption fast led by Baba Ramdev. Police used batons to disperse the yoga guru's supporters on Sunday, injuring several people. The crackdown was widely condemned.

Baba Ramdev and the 72-year old Hazare have been calling on the Indian government to introduce tough anti-corruption legislation.

India's government has been beleaguered by a series of recent anti-corruption scandals. The largest involves the sale of telecom licenses at below market rates, allegedly causing the loss of up to $40 billion to the government.

In April, Hazare held a five-day hunger strike, which ended when the government pledged to form a committee aimed at passing a new tough anti-corruption law.

The hunger strike is a traditional form of protest in India and was used as part of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence movement.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday defended government action against Baba Ramdev's anti-corruption protest. The Indian leader said the government is serious and concerned about corruption and “black money,” but there is no “magic” solution to the problem.