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Monday, 22 August 2011

Anna wave: ‘Walk Against Corruption’ march in US

New York: Thousands of Indian-Americans living in the New York area have gathered at Madison Avenue for the annual India Day parade to commemorate the 65th independence day of their homeland, and used the occasion to extend their support to activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement.

The 31st 'India Day Parade', organised by the Federation of Indian Associations, saw Bollywood stars and politicians rub shoulders with the Indian population living in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as Madison avenue was flooded in shades of the Indian tricolour.

Actress Rani Mukherjee was the grand marshall for the parade, which is touted as the biggest Indian parade in the US.

Noted classical singer Pandit Jasraj, actor Gulshan Grover and singer Shibani Kashyap were also present at the parade that ran for 10 blocks in the heart of New York city.

Supporters of Hazare's Lokpal Bill also turned out in large numbers for the 'Walk Against Corruption'.

Wearing the 'Anna cap', the supporters waived banners and placards and shouted slogans of 'Remove corruption, save India', 'Enact strong Lokpall Bill', 'We want Jan Lokpal', 'We are with you Anna Hazare' and 'India is with you, the world is with you Anna.'

Vamsi Veeramachaneni of the 'India Against Corruption' organisation said that Indians living abroad are "frustrated" to see the growing level of corruption in India.

"All the Indians have gathered here to support Anna Hazare as he represents the future of a corrupt free country. We want to see a corruption-free India.

We have had independence for over 60 years and we are yet to tackle corruption, which continues to be the biggest problem in the country," he said.

Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo, who is of Indian descent, was the guest of honour at the parade.

The parade comprised floats by US-based Indian organisations and dance performances showing the cultural diversity of India.

Mukherjee waived out to the crowd and said it was "fabulous" to see Indians living abroad celebrate their independence day with such fervour.

Seeing the large turnout of Indian-Americans at the parade, Mukherjee said she felt as "if I am in India today."

FIA said Mukherjee will preside over a ceremony at the Empire State building where the tower of the iconic New York building will light up in colours of the Indian flag.

Mukherjee will also ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange on Monday. Last year actress Preity Zinta had rung the bell at the exchange in Times Square.

The parade's official theme was 'My Earth, My Home' and sought to raise awareness about environmental pollution.


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