India Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev Calls Off Hunger Strike

by
staff
Indian anti-corruption campaigner Baba Ramdev has called off his hunger strike, a day after police stopped him from marching to parliament in the capital Delhi to stage a demonstration.

Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev smiles as he rides atop a bus on his way to being detained by police at an anti-corruption protest in New Delhi, India, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. Waving Indian flags and shouting slogans, the protesters climbed into a row of police buses parked around the sprawling New Delhi fairground that Ramdev and his supporters had occupied for the past four days. Police said the protesters would be taken to a stadium on the outskirts of the city and would likely be released by Monday evening.

Indian anti-corruption campaigner Baba Ramdev has called off his hunger strike, a day after police stopped him from marching to parliament in the capital Delhi to stage a demonstration.

Baba Ramdev says he is campaigning for the recovery of bribe money allegedly held overseas.

He is also demanding stronger anti-corruption laws.

The yoga guru has millions of supporters and his daily TV programme is watched by millions across India.

Last June he held a nine-day anti-corruption hunger strike before the police evicted him from Delhi.

On Monday, police stopped Baba Ramdev and his supporters from marching to the parliament and held them for allegedly "violating prohibitory laws".

Correspondents say that although the latest protests are nowhere near the scale of similar protests last year led by leading social activist Anna Hazare, it does show that corruption is still an issue.

Baba Ramdev and his supporters were forced to spend Monday night at Delhi's Ambedkar stadium, saying that they would continue their protest from there.

On Tuesday morning he ended his five-day hunger strike and said he would shortly announce his future plans.

"I haven't eaten or taken a bath for five days. I will now go straight to take a dip in the Ganges," Baba Ramdev told his supporters.

He urged them on Monday to march to parliament and hold a "peaceful" protest there.

"Throw out the Congress [the governing party] and save the country," he said, before beginning his demonstration.

A number of opposition leaders, including Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari joined the protest.

In June, the yoga guru joined Mr Hazare to undertake a day-long fast in protest against corruption.