19 Aug 2011

Anti-corruption campaigner to begin fast

9:40 pm on 19 August 2011

A self-styled Gandhian anti-corruption campaigner has left jail to carry on his fast in a Delhi park after the Indian government caved in to huge protests and order him released from prison.

Anna Hazare was arrested and imprisoned on Tuesday amidst a wave of support for his stand against corruption across the country. The government then ordered his release, but when he refused to leave prison, granted him permission to stage his protest fast for 15 days.

There was a deafening roar of celebration as Mr Hazare emerged from Delhi's Tihar jail on Friday into a throng of fans undeterred by monsoon rains, Retuers reports.

Live TV images broadcast across the country showed people perched on electric poles and even traffic lights to catch a glimpse of him, and many chanted "Anna we are with you".

His initial demand for tougher legislation against corruption has caught the imagination of millions of Indians, especially a new middle class who are angry at having to constantly pay bribes for everything from getting a driving licence to winning a university place.

Mr Hazare, who is 74 and a former army driver, was to visit to a memorial to Gandhi before travelling to open grounds in central Delhi, where supporters were making final preparations for his fast.