A Mass Movement Against Graft
Monday, August 22, 2011 at 3:08AM
Richard L. Cassin in Anna Hazare, India

Photo courtesy of annahazare.orgThousands gathered this weekend in New Delhi to support an anti-corruption activist who's on a hunger strike.

Anna Hazare, left, has refused food for five days since being jailed briefly by the Indian government over plans for public demonstrations.

"The 74-year-old activist has struck a chord with millions of India's expanding middle-class," VOA said, "by using the same protest tactics as Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.  In recent days, thousands have poured into the streets of New Delhi, Mumbai and other Indian cities to show support for Hazare."

Who is Hazare? According to his Wikipedia bio, he's unmarried and since 1975 has lived in a small room attached to the Sant Yadavbaba temple in Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Maharashtra state. In April, he said he had $1,500 in the bank and $30 in hand. He retired from the army in 1978 with a small pension.

In Dubai on Sunday, more than 150 Indian expatriates gathered at Al Mamzar Beach for a two-mile march in support of Hazare. Police arrived halfway through the walk. A local report said the police ordered the crowd to disperse and arrested the organizer.

Hazare wants parliament to adopt strong new anti-corruption legislation, called the Jan Lokpal (People's Ombudsman) Bill. Five years ago, he was behind India's successful 'right to information' movement, which he said was part of the anti-corruption campaign.

Like Gandhi before him, Hazare is leading the country's efforts to promote sustainable villages. And he also uses public fasts and non-violent demonstrations to pressure the government.

Article originally appeared on The FCPA Blog (http://www.fcpablog.com/).
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