'Unknown' Anna has more influence now, says US report | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Unknown' Anna has more influence now, says US report

delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2011 00:48 IST

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Social activist Anna Hazare, “a previously unknown figure”, has assumed “far more influence” in India, said a US Congressional report Wednesday, adding that "huge majorities (80-90 %) of Indians" were in favour of Team Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, "Hazare, an uneducated 72-year-old from an indigent Maharashtrian family, had vowed to fast unto death" unless the central government moved to toughen its anti-corruption laws, in particular by establishing a new Lokpal (ombudsman) post to review corruption complaints reaching to the highest levels of government.

The report said “less than a week later, after many thousands in cities across India had taken up his cause, Hazare ended his strike and declared victory upon the government’s announcement that it would form a committee to draft Lokpal legislation".

Observing that “huge majorities (80-90 %) of Indians favoured the civil society's Jan Lokpal bill over government's Lokpal bill, the report said top Congress party leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, argued that multiple tactics to combat corruption are required.”

The report mentions that “Team Anna has been criticized for allegedly dividing poorer minority communities, and for signs that Hindu nationalists are providing the bulk of its organisational muscle.”

Mentioning about Yoga guru Swami Ramdev, the report said that besides Anna, he too was notable in the “negative emotions sparked by months-long revelations of high-level corruption” in India.

The report said that in early June, Swami Ramdev staged a major anti-corruption protest in the Indian capital, and launched his own mass hunger strike to demand government action to recover “black money".

According to the report, “after apparently inaccurate reports that the government had acceded to Ramdev’s demands, hundreds of police swept through the protesters, using tear gas and batons to disperse them in which at least 30 people were injured”.