We used to beat up alcoholics: Anna Hazare | delhi | Hindustan Times
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We used to beat up alcoholics: Anna Hazare

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2011 13:28 IST

Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare was criticised by mainstream political parties on Tuesday for saying he supported the public flogging of alcoholics. Hazare, whose hunger strike in August against corruption attracted massive nationwide support, told the NDTV news channel that corporal punishment had previously been used in his home village in Maharashtra state.

"We give three warnings because after all they are our people," he said. "But after the warnings, we drag that person to the temple and make him promise that he will never drink again in his life.

"But even after all this if they continued drinking, we used to tie them to a pole near the temple and beat them up."

The 74-year-old's comments are likely to dent his image as a non-violent activist inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. Critics have previously alleged he held extreme views.

"I think the Taliban used to say the same thing," Manish Tiwari, spokesperson of the ruling Congress party, told NDTV, while the main BJP opposition party said his approach was no way to deal with alcoholism.

Hazare has also come under fire for demanding the death penalty for corrupt officials and is accused of trying to subvert India's parliamentary democracy by using hunger strikes to influence lawmakers.