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Indian Activist to Hold Anti-Corruption Hunger Strike


A girl offers lemon juice to social activist Anna Hazare after he called off his hunger strike during a campaign against corruption in New Delhi, April 9, 2011.

A girl offers lemon juice to social activist Anna Hazare after he called off his hunger strike during a campaign against corruption in New Delhi, April 9, 2011.

Veteran Indian activist Anna Hazare 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.

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.

Yoga guru Baba Swami Ramdev (front, 3rd L) offers prayers at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi June 3, 2011 (Reuters).

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 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.

Baba Ramdev, whose daily television show is watched by millions, on Tuesday vowed to continue his fast at his ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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