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Anti-graft bill 'will end corruption'

Elderly activist Hazare scores notable victory as government backs down

Anti-graft bill 'will end corruption'
Supporters protest in favour of change
Bijay Kumar Minj, New Delhi

April 11, 2011

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Church leaders and social activists in India say they hope the country will be corruption free once a promised anti-corruption bill comes into law. The euphoria was triggered following the government’s agreement to the demands of Anna Hazare, a Hindu activist, who was fasting in support of his campaign against corruption. Hazare ended his fast on April 9 after the government gave in to his demands. It agreed to set up a joint committee of ministers and civil activists to draft an effective bill that gives wider powers to an ombudsman to fight corruption. “We have crossed the first hurdle and it’s victory of the people”, said Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi. He said “we should be optimistic and not pessimistic for things will change though it will take its own course as it is deeply rooted in the system”. However, corruption will only end if the change comes from within the people. It’s a big challenge, the prelate added. Muhammad Abbas, a Muslim leader, agreed. “Nothing will change all of a sudden” but one thing is sure. "We have a leader who thinks and cares for the ordinary people”, he said. The government cannot now take the people for granted, he added. Swami Navyogender, one of the participants from Udhampur said “it is the people’s fight, if nothing moves people will come to the street again”. The movement was peaceful and the participants showed their frustration against the corrupt system. More than 10,000 people, including scores of Catholic priests and nuns, supported Hazare in his campaign against corruption. They took part in his march at Jantar Mantar, the venue for public protests. "India Against Corruption,” a movement launched by social and religious leaders, including Archbishop Concessao, has supported Hazare’s campaign. However, Hazare told the media on March 10 that a law would cut corruption by up to 90 percent. “For the other 10 percent [to be rooted out], we will call for the right to reject [corrupt] candidates. There should be decentralization of power in governance right down to the village level.'' IC13938.1649

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