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August 13, 2012

Indian Yoga Guru Arrested After Anti-Corruption Protest

by VOA News

Police in India have arrested a popular yoga guru after he tried to lead an anti-corruption protest to parliament.

Baba Ramdev was peacefully led away by police on Monday, as he shouted slogans calling for the removal of the Congress-Party led government.

The yoga guru began his protest on Thursday, 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 in June of last year, 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.

In anticipation of Monday's protest march, authorities deployed extra security around the route in New Delhi.

Members of India's opposition parties also joined Ramdev for the anti-corruption rally and many supporters were arrested alongside the yoga guru.  They were expected to be held temporarily.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan 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.