India activist begins another hunger strike in crusade against corruption
- POSTED: 11 Dec 2013 14:42
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India's anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has taken the plunge once again, this time with an even stronger resolve. Intensifying his crusade against corruption, Hazare started another indefinite fast on Tuesday, at his village in Ralegan Siddhi in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
INDIA: India's anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has taken the plunge once again, this time with an even stronger resolve.
Intensifying his crusade against corruption, Hazare started another indefinite fast on Tuesday, at his village in Ralegan Siddhi in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
He is demanding his draft of the Jan Lokpal Bill, also referred to as the Citizen's Ombudsman Bill, be accepted by the federal government.
The bill is anti-corruption legislation drafted by a group of civil society activists, seeking appointment of an independent panel to probe cases of corruption.
Hazare said he would continue his hunger strike until the bill is introduced in the ongoing winter session of the parliament.
He said: "I do not trust the assurances anymore. I have received letters from prime minister's office at least 15 to 16 times. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had given an assurance in writing at the Ramlila ground. The president of Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, had also promised to bring Jan Lokpal Bill. Now it is not enough just to sit on these assurances. Now, it is a 'do or die’ situation. We have to fight for the nation and for the welfare of its people."
The movement, which was started by Hazare in 2011, is often touted as the biggest revolution against corruption in India, which not only transfixed the nation, but also stalled parliamentary proceedings and monopolised the headlines for days on end.
But despite substantial public support and pressure, the bill continues to hang in the balance and some blame internal government politics for the delay.
Jay Panda, leader of Biju Janata Dal, said: "My party and I have supported a very strong Lokpal (public ombudsman) Bill with some issues as was discussed in parliament. Now whatever was in the final stages of parliament which got stopped was due to political manipulation within the ruling coalition and if that were to be brought up again we would definitely take a positive stand."
Meanwhile, the country's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has also extended its support to Hazare’s movement.
Kirti Azad, leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, said: "I respect Anna Hazare. Anyone can hold protests and demonstrations, in a democracy."
Hazare's initial hunger strike drew tens of thousands of Indians united against corruption on to the streets and forced the government into a series of U-turns.