Indian Yoga Guru Ends Anti-Graft Fast

Posted June 12th, 2011 at 4:20 am (UTC-5)
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A popular Indian yoga guru has ended his nine-day, anti-graft fast.

Baba Ramdev, who hosts a popular daily television yoga program, ended his fast Sunday by drinking juice.

He went on the fast to protest corruption in India's scandal-tainted government. He was demanding a return of so-called black money – cash stashed in foreign bank accounts and used to pray bribes. The spiritual leader was also calling for the execution of corrupt government officials.

Ramdev began his hunger strike in New Delhi where police used tear gas and batons to disperse thousands of his supporters who had gathered in the massive tent he had erected for the fast.

A New Delhi police spokesman said permission had been given to Ramdev to hold an event for 5,000 people, but more than 40,000 turned out to support him.

Critics charge Ramdev has ties to right-wing Hindu groups, and they question his sincerity, arguing he lives lavishly with money from his multi-million-dollar business ventures. But his call to end widespread corruption appears to have resonated in a country still reeling from a $39 billion telecom scandal and a scandal-plagued Commonwealth Games that have seen some ministers end up in jail.