Hunger striker wins anti-corruption fight

Hunger striker wins anti-corruption fight

A hunger strike campaign in India by 74-year-old activist Anna Hazare - calling for strong anti-corruption legislation - has ended successfully. He gained the support of millions of people in the country, and was followed by the government unanimously approving a Lokpal (ombudsman) bill.

Hazare's 288-hour-long hunger strike last month struck a chord with Indians. His non-violent campaign led to nationwide protests on the streets of major cities.

He began his campaign to press for stronger anti-corruption measures - including powers to investigate and punish corrupt politicians and civil servants, and greater ombudsman independence.

Hazare began a first period of fasting on April 5 to demand the new bill; he ended a 98-hour hunger strike on April 9 after the government agreed to set up new legislation and allow Hazare's team of supporters to help draft the bill. He set a deadline of August 16 for the bill to become law. However, in July, Hazare rejected the government's proposed draft of the Lokpal bill, saying that it did not go far enough to tackle corruption.

The bill's powers would have covered few government officials. It allowed the prime minister and senior judges to be excluded from any authority held by ombudsmen.

On August 16, Hazare was arrested hours before his planned second hunger strike began.

Yet for the first time in 120 years, the dabbawallas - lunch-box delivery workers - went on strike, adding their support to millions of other people backing Hazare's campaign.

Hazare was released within four hours, but he continued his fast until August 28, when the government passed the resolution for the bill.

He is a great man; he has taken action for the benefit of everyone living in India.



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