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Monday, 12 December 2011

Anna supporters protest in London

Anti-corruption Indian activists living in Britain, who held a demonstration at Tavistock Square in central London to show support for social activist Anna Hazare, are planning to start working at the grassroots level in India to strengthen democratic governance systems.

The group, Indian Against Corruption — Great Britain, has some 2,000 supporters and 15-20 core members, who act as the coordinators. It has no leaders and has, like the Occupy London activists, come up with the vision statement for its long-term anti-corruption activities.

The group initially supported protests by Anna Hazare by holding protests, candlelight vigils and dusk-to-dawn hungerstrikes outside the Indian high commission.

About 20 members of the anti-corruption group had assembled near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Tavistock Square on the cold and rainy Sunday to show solidarity with Mr Hazare.

“We chose to protest at Tavistock Square as it has a memorial to the conscientious objectors, people who refused to take up arms during World War I. Their protest had strong parallels with Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent struggle for India’s independence,” one of the coordinators of the protest Rajesh Redij-Gill said on Sunday. “Our fight against corruption too has parallels with the conscientious objectors movement and is a moral extension of Mahatma’s satyagraha,” he added.

The group said that it had finalised it vision for the future during brainstorming session in the Hyde Park. “The symbolism of Hyde Park, which is a well-known venue for free speech, has to be noted,” Mr Redij-Gill said.
The group said its mission is to root out corruption in India and said the movement, take the shape of three broad work-streams — awareness, activism and action.

The group aims to help organisations and movements in India by helping in building software systems or helping with communications and campaigns. “Our immediate targets would be to work with the Jan Lokpal Bill group and the NGOs in the RTI space to support them in every way we could,” Mr Redij-Gill added.


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