Hunger strike over Lokpal Bill as thousands protest corruption

NEW DELHI Tue Apr 5, 2011 8:04pm IST

A demonstrator wears a sticker on his forehead during a protest rally against corruption in Mumbai, April 5, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A demonstrator wears a sticker on his forehead during a protest rally against corruption in Mumbai, April 5, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday began a “fast unto death” demanding the government enact a tough anti-corruption law that would lead to prosecution of officials and lawmakers.

In the capital, flag-waving protesters converged near the historic Jantar Mantar monument to join 72-year-old Hazare and other leading activists like Swami Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal in demanding greater probity in public life.

Thousands joined the protests in different cities including Mumbai, Lucknow and Jaipur with activities ranging from hunger strikes to candlelit vigils.

The Congress-led coalition has been hit by a series of corruption scandals in recent times, leading to calls for adoption of the Lokpal bill which aims to bring the prime minister’s office and lawmakers under the purview of an anti-corruption ombudsman.

Activists reject the current draft of the bill which suggests the Lokpal (or ombudsman) be a recommending authority without prosecuting powers.

They have come up with an alternate draft, the Jan Lokpal bill, which gives the Lokpal punitive powers and makes completing investigations within a year mandatory.

“We are demanding the formation of a joint committee, with half the members from the civil society which will formulate the Lokpal bill,” said Aswathi Muralidharan from ‘India Against Corruption’ campaign, which is organising the protests.

Hazare, a social reformer and a right to information crusader, said he decided to undertake a hunger strike after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not form a joint committee for the Lokpal bill as demanded by activists.

“We need to change the system. We need to get corruption under control,” Hazare said.

Several corruption scandals, from the Commonwealth Games to the multi-billion telecoms scam, have damaged the government’s credibility and people from all age groups came together on Tuesday to demand accountability in public life.

“This protest is for welfare of the general public,” said Archana, a protester in New Delhi.

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Mining Reform

Mining Reform

Foreign firms with India units could mine, sell coal - source.  Full Article 

No Deflation Fears

No Deflation Fears

Indian consumers respond to softer oil, food prices.  Full Article 

West at Fault

West at Fault

Iran supreme leader blames West for Islamic State rise, wants regional solution.  Full Article 

Yazidi Genocide

Yazidi Genocide

Islamic State onslaught on Yazidis may be attempted genocide - U.N..  Full Article 

IS in India

IS in India

India says Islamic State not yet a threat.  Full Article 

Denying Claims

Denying Claims

Singer Kesha denied drug, sex claims against producer three years ago.  Full Article 

Top Editor Dies

Top Editor Dies

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93.  Full Article 

Diwali Pollution

Diwali Pollution

Delhi braces for worst air quality this Diwali week.  Full Article 

Goal Fest

Goal Fest

Champions League sets record with 40 goals in one night.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage