Police Break Up Mass Anti-Corruption Hunger Strike in India

June 6, 2011

Asia, India

INDIA.– On 5 June, police in India disbanded a mass hunger strike and anti-corruption protest led by the country’s most famous yoga guru, Baba Ramdev.

Baba Ramdev, who has a following of over 30 million, began a hunger stike to pressure the government to adopt stronger measures against the nation’s widespread corruption. One of Baba Ramdev’s central demands is for government steps to reclaim “unaccounted wealth” that the corrupt have stashed away abroad.

On Sunday, hundreds of police officers arrived at the site of the hunger strike forcibly removing the guru and thousands of his supporters. The officers used tear gas to break up the large crowd. About 30 people were injured in the incident.

Officers  initially detained Baba Ramdev for security reasons, but later released him, according to a police spokesman.

The forced removal could possibly serve to solidify Baba Ramdev’s stance and spark protests by his supporters across the country.

Sociologist and political scientist Ashis Nandy explained,  “The regime felt that his movement was attracting the opposition and beginning to turn into a larger movement that would be controlled by the opposition…They are afraid of this issue because this is a hugely popular and salient issue in India today, and there is always the fear that somebody will turn it into an anti-regime protest.”

Several corruption scandals have affected the government’s popularity in the past few months. the involvement of power officials in the corruption has added to the government’s humiliation.

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