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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid