Wednesday, July 25, 2012

India anti-corruption activist Hazare to start new fast

India anti-corruption activist Hazare to start new fast - Indian anti-graft activist Anna Hazare, whose hunger strike last year generated a nationwide outpouring of support, vowed on Wednesday to hold another fast to pile pressure on the government.

Hazare pledged to re-start his protest nearly one year after his public hunger strike in New Delhi to demand stronger anti-corruption legislation in India, where many citizens complain graft is endemic in everyday life.

The 75-year-old former army truck driver on Wednesday appeared at a demonstration in Delhi where three of his campaign members began a fast, but he declined to talk to reporters.

"We need some positive signs from the government to show that they are serious about tackling corruption, otherwise Anna will start his fast on Sunday," Aswathi Muralidharan, a spokeswoman for his campaign said.

"We want a special investigating team to look into corruption charges against ministers, MPs and party leaders, and we want a fast-track court," she said.

Massive rallies across India in support of Hazare's 12-day fast last August badly shook the government, which has been hit by a series of major corruption scandals since being re-elected in 2009.

The activist's campaign tapped into widespread anger among millions of Indians and dominated television news coverage for weeks, but it has since struggled to maintain momentum.

Hazare's direct attacks on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the ruling Congress party also led to accusations that he and his campaign organisers were pursuing a political agenda.

At Wednesday's rally, which attracted less than 1,000 people, Nishant Sharma, a 19-year-old student who volunteered for the campaign last year, said Hazare's plan to fast would push the government to act on the demands.

"He is fighting for our country, not for himself," Sharma said. "He is trying to force the government to fight corruption. This time, we are determined not to stop until the government does something."

After last year's protests, the government drafted an anti-graft bill that was dismissed by Hazare as too weak.

The bill failed to win support in the upper house of parliament and is currently lodged with a parliamentary committee.

India anti-corruption activist Hazare to start new fast Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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