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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid