Indian Yoga Guru Ends Anti-Corruption Hunger Strike

Posted August 14th, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A popular Indian yoga guru has ended a six-day hunger strike but vowed to continue his fight against government corruption.

Baba Ramdev sipped a glass of juice Tuesday to break his fast as several thousand supporters cheered him in New Delhi.

Ramdev criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling-Congress Party, calling for its downfall in 2014 general elections. He also said his movement will continue to grow.

India's newly elected president, Pranab Mukherjee, said public anger against corruption is legitimate, but he warned against random protests. In a speech Tuesday on the eve of India's Independence Day, Mr. Mukherjee said when protests become endemic, India is “flirting with chaos.”

On Monday, Ramdev was arrested in New Delhi after he tried to lead an anti-corruption protest to parliament.

The yoga guru began his protest last week, calling for the government to do more to fight graft and seek the repatriation of illegal money he says Indians have stashed in overseas banks.

Ramdev led a similar hunger strike about a year ago. But unlike that protest, his recent campaign has not generated a government response.

The guru is loosely aligned with the anti-corruption movement of activist Anna Hazare, who earlier this month ended a six-day hunger strike with supporters vowing to form a political movement to spur change.

Ramdev attracts millions of viewers on his daily television show, where he demonstrates yoga exercises.

Members of India's opposition parties joined Ramdev for the anti-corruption rally Monday and many of his supporters were also arrested.

Mr. Singh's government was hit by a number of high-profile corruption scandals in 2010, including the sale of mobile phone licenses at below market prices, which is said to have cost the government up to $40 billion.