News / Asia

Arrest of Anti-Corruption Hunger Striker Sparks Anger in India

Police try to remove supporters of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare who were attempting to block the vehicle carrying Hazare after he was arrested by police in New Delhi, Aug. 16, 2011.
Police try to remove supporters of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare who were attempting to block the vehicle carrying Hazare after he was arrested by police in New Delhi, Aug. 16, 2011.
Kurt Achin

Police have arrested one of India's leading activists just as he was set to begin a hunger strike in support of stronger anti-corruption legislation.

The detention of 74-year-old social activist Anna Hazare Tuesday sparked mass protest in the Indian capital. Their numbers continued to rise into the evening, as similar protest gatherings emerged around the country.

Later in the day, officials said an order for his release was issued, but Hazare refused to leave jail, saying he wants no restrictions on his demonstration once he is freed. Some 1,400 of his supporters detained earlier were also released.

Hazare had just begun what he calls "the second battle for indenpendence" and a Gandhi-inspired "fast unto death" in support of robust new legislation to counter widespread corruption before he was detained.

Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram stressed the decision to detain Hazare was made by local police, but he defended the action.

He called it a "painful duty" police were required to perform after Hazare told him he would refuse to accept their conditions limiting the protest to three days in length and no more than 5,000 people.

"He said that he was proceeding to defy the orders.  At that point, the police came to the conclusion that he and his supporters would commit a cognizable offense, and there was a risk of breach of peace."

A similar fast by Hazare in April lasted only several days, but pressured the government into introducing a bill that would create a civil society organization to monitor and police political corruption.

Hazare says the government's bill is too weak, and demands a law that would make even the Indian Prime Minister and members of the judiciary subject to prosecution by the anti-corruption body.

Senior leaders of India's ruling Congress party repeated their assertion Tuesday that Parliament is the only acceptable venue for drafting new legislation.

Home Minister Chidambaram rejected claims that the police, under pressure from the government, were curbing basic democratic rights of civil protest.  He says authorities have spent months trying to negotiate appropriate crowd control conditions for Hazare's protest.

"Nowhere in the world is a protest allowed without any conditions, This is the capital of India."

Soon after he was detained, supporters of Hazare released a video on YouTube indicating he had anticipated, and possibly planned, his arrest.

Hazare says, "I have been arrested." He asks, "Will this arrest put an end to the anti corruption campaign? Don’t let that happen," he continues.  "A time must come," he says,"'when there will no place left in the country’s jails, but please keep the movement non-violent."

Popular outrage over corruption in India has grown steadily over the past year as reports of one sweeping graft scandal after another has emerged in national media.

Both houses of India's parliament adjourned early over the controversy surrounding Hazare's detention.  The threat of possible paralysis now looms over the legislature, as an emboldened political opposition began accusing the ruling party of depriving protesters of their civil rights.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid