News / Asia

    Indian Activist Anna Hazare Begins New Hunger Strike

    Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare waves to supporters next to a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the first day of his hunger strike in Mumbai, India, December 27, 2011.
    Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare waves to supporters next to a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the first day of his hunger strike in Mumbai, India, December 27, 2011.

    In India, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has begun a hunger strike calling on the government to redraft an anti-graft bill that lawmakers began debating Tuesday. The bill was introduced following a year-long campaign by civil society activists, but anti-corruption campaigners and the political opposition have slammed it as ineffective.

    Both inside and outside parliament, there were calls for sweeping changes in the scope and shape of the anti-corruption, or “Lokpal Bill” introduced by the government.  

    In the business hub of Mumbai, the populist anti-corruption crusader, Anna Hazare, launched a three-day hunger strike calling the bill "toothless," and asking for stronger legislation.

    The bill seeks to create an independent ombudsman with powers to investigate corruption charges against bureaucrats and politicians.

    But civil society activist Hazare charges that the proposed ombudsman will be controlled by the government, making it ineffective in tackling rampant corruption.  

    Hazare told his supporters that the government’s anti-graft legislation is an attempt to fool the people of the country.  

    Civil society activists are concerned that the proposed ombudsman will have no authority over the country’s top investigative agency, which probes corruption cases. They want the ombudsman to have independent powers of investigation.

    Following the protest in Mumbai, Hazare has threatened a wider civil disobedience campaign starting Friday in which activists will voluntarily go to jail if their demands are not met.

    He called on his supporters to fill jails throughout the country.  

    However, Hazare’s protest in Mumbai attracted smaller crowds compared to a hunger strike staged in New Delhi in August. That campaign provoked the massive public response that pressured the government to introduce the bill. 

    Inside parliament, the debate was acrimonious. The leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Sushma Swaraj, denounced the Lokpal Bill as flawed.

    She says the proposed ombudsman will be firmly under the government’s influence, and will not be independent.   

    The government says the proposed law is a fine piece of legislation and will be instrumental in fighting corruption.

    Telecoms Minister, Kapil Sibal, accused the opposition BJP of not being serious in the fight against corruption.

    “You do not want to fight it [corruption], in fact you want to embrace it when you are in power,”Sibal stated. 

    The government extended the parliament session for the debate on the anti-corruption bill and says it hopes to pass the landmark legislation by Thursday. But its fate remains uncertain with opposition parties expected to seek many changes.

    Successive governments have been promising to enact an anti corruption law for the last five decades. But the current bill was introduced by the government after a series of multi-billion-dollar graft scandals involving top politicians triggered a wave of public anger.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora