Wednesday, June 8, 2011

India Erupts Against Corruption After Brutal Action on Nonviolent Resisters

The Indian anti-corruption activist Swami Ramdev started his hunger fast four days ago in Delhi. All was going fine. The Indian government agreed to most of his demands even before he started his fast, but it soon backtracked and negotiations failed.
  Suddenly, at midnight, more than 5000 Delhi police and rapid action force personnel were sent to Ramlila Grounds where the satyagraha was going on. They baton charged nonviolent protesters who were sleeping, used tear gas shells and imposed section 144 of the Indian penal code, which forbids unlawful assembly. They even forced media vans to leave the place. Ramdev later slammed the government and Delhi police, accusing them of conspiracy.
The police brutality on peaceful protesters has caused a great rage among people of India, and now satyagraha and marches are planned across whole of India to protest against the police action.
Facebook, Twitter (#ramlila#ramdev#satyagraha), YouTube and news sites are flooding with comments against the police action and TV media is telecasting the uprising live.
The situation is being compared to the emergency that was imposed on June 25th of 1975, when the government in power then used similar tactics to suppress an uprising against corruption. 35 years later, history seems to be repeating itself. The difference is tht this time the media (TV and social media) is much stronger, and correct information reaches the masses almost instantly, and digital activism empowers them to express and protest.

What has happened after June 4th?

Ramdev is continuing his fast from his headquarters at Haridwar, since he is exiled from Delhi and is barred from entering the capital for the next 15 days (till 20th June). He has appealed to all his followers to continue nationwide protest in a peaceful manner following Gandhian means.
A peaceful movement by spiritual leaders and civil society is being hijacked by opposition political parties as they plan to add fuel to the fire by holding symbolic fasts across the country.
Baba Ramdev released a booklet to educate people about the cause titled “Regaining Bharat(India) of Our Dreams”, you may read the English translation of the free e-book here.

Is this the start of a major uprising of people against an elected government in world's largest democracy? What do you think?

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