2011 Indian anti-corruption movement

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2011 Indian anti-corruption movement
Jan lokpal 4.jpg
Protesters take part in protests at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Date 4 April 2011 (2011-04-04) – ongoing
(3 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 2 days)
Location  India
28°36′N 77°12′E / 28.600°N 77.200°E / 28.600; 77.200Coordinates: 28°36′N 77°12′E / 28.600°N 77.200°E / 28.600; 77.200
  • Establishing strong and independent janlok pal anti-corruption legislation and enforcement;[5](Not Completed Yet)
Methods Non violent protest
Status Ongoing

The 2011 Indian anti-corruption movement was a series of demonstrations and protests across India intended to establish strong legislation and enforcement against perceived endemic political corruption.[5] The movement was named among the "Top 10 News Stories of 2011" by Time magazine.[6]

The movement gained momentum from 5 April 2011, when anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare began a hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The chief legislative aim of the movement was to alleviate corruption in the Indian government through introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Another aim, spearheaded by Ramdev, was the repatriation of black money from Swiss and other foreign banks.

Grievances of mass protesters focussed on legal and political issues, including political corruption, kleptocracy, and other forms of corruption. The movement was primarily one of non-violent civil resistance, featuring demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, hunger strikes, marches and rallies, as well as the use of social media to organise, communicate, and raise awareness. The protests were nonpartisan and most protesters were hostile to attempts made by political parties to use them to strengthen their own political agendas.

Historical background[edit]

Anna Hazare's hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, on the second day of his fast

Issues regarding corruption in India have become increasingly prominent in recent years. The country was subject to socialist-inspired economic policies dating from independence in 1947 until the 1980s. Over-regulation, protectionism, and government ownership of industry led to slow economic growth, high unemployment, and widespread poverty.[7][8] This system of bureaucratic control by government is called the License Raj and lies at the core of endemic corruption.[9]

The Vohra Report of 1993, submitted by the former Indian Union Home Secretary Pranay Nahar, studied the issue of the criminalisation of politics. The report contained several observations made by official agencies on the criminal network which was virtually running a parallel government. It also discussed criminal gangs who enjoyed the patronage of politicians and the protection of government functionaries. It revealed that political leaders had become leaders of street gangs and rogue elements in the military. Over the years, criminals had been elected to local bodies, State Assemblies, and the Parliament.[10][11][12]

The Right to Information Act of 2005 helped civilians work effectively towards tackling corruption. It allows Indian citizens to request information, for a fixed fee of INR10 (US$0.22), from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State"). In turn, this public authority is required to reply to the request within thirty days. Activists have used this to uncover corruption cases against various politicians and bureaucrats – one consequence being that some of those activists have been attacked and even killed.[13]

Pre-launch of the movement[edit]

The movement has connections to several anti-corruption campaigns that occurred between October 2010 and March 2011. These included:

Date Anti-corruption Campaign
29 October,
An anti-corruption press conference organised by NGO India Against Corruption[note 1] was held at the Press Club of India to highlight the fact that the government-appointed Shunglu Committee had inadequate powers to investigate the Commonwealth Games scam[16]
1 November,
By order of Defence Minister of India A.K. Antony, the Indian Army establishes a court of inquiry into the Adarsh Housing Society Scam[17]
14 November,
After India Against Corruption registers a complaint regarding corruption in the Commonwealth Games scam, nearly 10,000 people assembled at the Parliament Street Police Station[16]
24 November,
The Central Bureau of Investigation's arrests of several senior bankers under allegations of receiving bribes to issue corporate loans in the 2010 housing loan scam[18]
10 December,
The Central Government of India and the Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) file a delayed joint affidavit to the Supreme Court of India declaring the November 2007 wiretapping of corporate lobbyist Nira Radia in the Radia tapes controversy[19]
22 December,
A 20,000-person anti-corruption protest in response to the 2G spectrum scam held at New Delhi's Ramlila ground[20]
17 January,
The Supreme Court of India criticises the administration for not publicly disclosing Indian nationals named on Rudolf Elmer's "black money" list disclosed by Julian Assange's Wikileaks. The Income Tax Department issues summons and arrest notices to many tax evaders.[21][22]
18 January,
The public release of an anti-corruption open letter from Azim Premji, Keshub Mahindra, and other leading Indian industrialists demanding reform of "the widespread governance deficit in almost every sphere of national activity, covering government, business and institutions"[23]
29 January,
Former Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu announces launch of his "war on corruption" through his NTR Memorial Trust and Jana Chaitanya Vedika[24]
30 January,
Thousands of people marched against corruption in more than 52 cities in India and abroad. Copies of the CVC Act, the CBI Act, I-T Act, and the Government’s Lokpal Bill were torn up by the thousands, sending a strong message that the people lack faith in the ineffective anti-corruption measures[16]
The Central Bureau of Investigation's and Income Tax Department's arrests of co-conspirators implicated in the 2G spectrum scam[25][26][27]
8 February,
Indian-born American executive Anjan Dutta-Gupta charged for bribing United States Navy officials in seeking software contracts worth approximately $10M[28]
10 February,
The Supreme Court of India orders all trial courts in the country to expedite handling of corruption cases; also, all High Courts of India ordered to seek quarterly reports from lower trial courts on the progress of corruption cases[29]
21 February,
In a public address to the Parliament of India, the President of India Pratibha Patil stated that measures to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and other legislative and administrative measures necessary to improve transparency will be taken[30]
1 March,
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission action against Indian School of Business Chairman Rajat Gupta in the Galleon insider trading scandal; Gupta had also violated McKinsey & Co.'s firm policy by corruptly backdealing through his own consulting firm, MindSpirit LLC[31][32][33]
3 March,
The forced resignation of Chief Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas on charges of corruption by the Supreme Court of India[34]
12 March,
The worldwide 50-city Dandi March II organised by People for Lok Satta and India Against Corruption[35]
13 March,
The "Drive around Delhi" protest organised by India Against Corruption[36]
17 March,
The Wikileaks' Cash-for-votes scandal involving the delayed leak of a diplomatic cable describing an Indian legislative aide showing a US embassy official "chests of cash" used to bribe Indian lawmakers over a vote on an Indo-U.S. nuclear deal back in July 2008[37]
30 March,
Famous cricketer Kapil Dev's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, complaining of the inadequacy of Commonwealth Games corruption investigations and petitioning for the Jan Lokpal Bill[38]

Hazare's hunger strike at Jantar Mantar[edit]

How can the government stop anyone from protesting? The
land is not their 'father's property'. The citizens are the masters of
this country and the ministers are their servants". – Anna Hazare
(When asked by a press reporter how could he protest
at Jantar Mantar in spite of prohibitory orders)


Hazare began his hunger strike on 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. This was in reaction to the rejection by Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh of his request for the formation of a joint committee comprising government and civil society representatives. Hazare had wanted the committee to draft an anti-corruption bill containing stronger punishments and giving more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (ombudsmen in the states).[40] He said that he would continue the fast until the bill was passed[41] and attracted considerable support, including from 150 people who joined him in fasting.[42] Prominent among the supporters were Medha Patkar, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Kumar Vishwas and Jayaprakash Narayan.[43][44] Hazare would not allow politicians to sit with him and those who tried to join, such as Uma Bharti and Om Prakash Chautala, were turned away.[45]

Protests spread to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl and a number of other cities in India.[46] There were also gatherings in solidarity around the world, including Washington DC, London, Glasgow, Los Angeles, Artesia, New Jersey, Stolberg, Paris and Houston.[47][48][49][50][51][52]

Government response to Hazare[edit]

The hunger strike caused the resignation on 6 April of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar from the group of ministers that had been charged with reviewing the draft bill.[53] On 8 April, the government started seriously considering the demands of the protesters. The government stated that it would table the bill in Parliament in the upcoming Monsoon session.[54] On 9 April, the government finally agreed to have a 50:50 distribution of the Government appointed officials and the members of the civil society.[55] On 13 May, PM Manmohan Singh stated that the Indian government had completed the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.[56]

Political party response to Hazare[edit]

Bhartiya Janata Party

The Bhartiya Janata Party supported Hazare, with prominent member Arun Jaitley urging the government to take Hazare's fast seriously.[57]

Another prominent BJP figure, L.K. Advani, suggested that a meeting of political parties should be convened to discuss the issue "particularly in the context of black money and curbing money-power in elections".[58]

BJP leader Narendra Modi posted on his Facebook account that he was praying for Hazare's health. He also published an open letter to Hazare thanking him for the latter's support for the development work in Gujarat. Modi also warned Hazare of possible vilification by a certain 'powerful-group' that wishes to defame Modi and Gujarat. He reiterated his support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.[59]

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) came out in support of Anna Hazare. Prakash Karat pledged support to Hazare over the Jan Lokpal Bill.[60]

Protest at Ramlila Maidan[edit]


Following Hazare's initial protest, Ramdev led a second major protest at the Ramlila Maidan, New Delhi on 4 June 2011. His aim was to highlight the need for legislation to repatriate black money deposited abroad. He demanded that untaxed money invested abroad should be declared to be the wealth of the nation and, further, that the act of caching money alleged to have been obtained illegally in foreign banks should be declared a crime against the state. It was estimated that around $350 billion to $1.4 trillion worth of black money was stashed away in foreign banks.[61][62]

Prior to his protest, Ramdev had announced that he would launch a people's movement called the "Satyagraha against Corruption" to liberate the country from rampant corruption and build a strong spiritual ‘Bharat'.[63] Four senior Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay along with the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Sudhir Chandra, met Ramdev to discuss his concerns in the early days of June.[64][65] Both sides to the discussion claimed to have reached agreement but Ramdev planned to go ahead with his hunger strike.[citation needed]

The ground protests[edit]

The Ramlila Maidan was booked for 40 days to allow the protest to happen. Preparations included setting up toilet, drinking water and medical facilities, as well as a media centre.[66]

Ramdev claimed that more than 100 million people were directly involved with the Bharat Swabhiman Andolan.[67] Almost 3.2 million "netizens" joined the campaign.[68][69]

Police action[edit]

On 5 June, police raided the Maidan where Ramdev was fasting, detaining him and removing his supporters after firing tear gas shells and lathicharging.[70] 713 people were hospitalised, four of whom were reported to be in critical condition.[71] Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee called the police action "unfortunate" but added that the government had to do that as Ramdev had no permission to hold the protest.[72]

It was alleged that the action was not a spontaneous decision but had been planned for several days.[73] The police said Ramdev had been informed shortly beforehand that permission to continue his agitation had been cancelled. By that time, over 5000 police officers had been prepared for action.[73] There was an allegation that CCTV footage of the raid was missing.[74][75]

On 6 June, the National Human Rights Commission of India requested that reports of the events be provided within two weeks by the Union Home Secretary, Delhi Chief Secretary and the Delhi City Commissioner of Police.[76] Hazare responded to the events by holding a one-day hunger strike.[77] Protests were held in many parts of country, including the cities of Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jammu, and Lucknow. They also spread to Nepal.[78][79][80][81]

Ramdev said that a second phase of the Bharat Swabhiman Yatra would begin in October and would cover a distance of 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi).[69]


Civil society response[edit]

Ramdev accused the government of not being serious about discussing issues of corruption and black money, alleging that government negotiator Kapil Sibal had cheated him through a "scheming and cunning" attitude. He alleged that there was a conspiracy to kill him and a "threat" was given to him during a meeting with senior ministers. He also claimed that the ruling government chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the United Progressive Alliance government will be responsible for any threat to his life and alleged that he was nearly strangled by the police.[82] After being evicted from Delhi, Ramdev wanted to continue his fast from Noida but was denied permission to do so by the Uttar Pradesh government. He decided to continue his hunger strike and satyagraha from Haridwar only until 12 June 2011.[83][84][85]

Hazare said there might have been some faults with Ramdev's agitation but that the beating up of people at night rather than in the day-time was a "blot on democracy" and that "there was no firing otherwise the eviction was similar to Jallianwala Bagh incident." He said that the "strangulation of democracy" would cause civil society to launch protests throughout the country to "teach government a lesson".[86][87] Other civil society leaders, such as Arvind Kejriwal, also termed the use of police force on non-violent sleeping protesters as undemocratic. Shanti Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh also criticised the police action to end the hunger strike.[88][89]

Government response[edit]

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh said that the government had reached an agreement before the protests were held.[90] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Ramdev, asking to cease-and-desist from holding the protests.[91] Nationalist Congress Party General Secretary Tariq Anwar said that "Both Hazare and Ramdev are blackmailing the government and they should first peep into their own hearts."[92] Pawan Bansal commented on the midnight police action and said that "It was not a crackdown, we [the government] had to do it to maintain law and order".[93]

All India Congress Committee secretary Janardan Dwivedi described Ramdev's protest as a political game by Bharatiya Janata Party pointing out that despite being treated in the same hospital as Swami Nigamananda Saraswati who fasted for over two months, Ramdev got more attention.[94]

Political party response[edit]

  • Bharatiya Janata Party: The party called the police action to break up the hunger strike "undemocratic".[95] BJP President Nitin Gadkari said they will organise a 24-hour long Satyagraha at Rajghat independent of government's permission.[96] Nitin Gadkari further added; "Women and children were attacked. They were lathi charged and teargas was used. This reminds us of the Emergency days in 1975. We strongly condemn it," and "The Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi used force on democratic ways of protest against corruption and black money. I condemn the action of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. They should apologize for the act,"[97] Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned the incident comparing atrocities on Ramlila ground by comparing the government with Ravana-Lila further adding that “It is one of the worst days of Indian history. The Prime Minister had said during the elections that he would bring back black money stashed in Swiss banks within 100 days of coming into power. But today, it is two years and nothing has happened.”[97] Senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani said that the police action reminded him of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and added that the police crackdown on Ramdev is a "naked fascism".[97] Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said: "This is not democracy. .. the police cannot alone have taken such a step. It had the approval of the Prime Minister and full approval of the Congress President.[97]
  • Bahujan Samaj Party: BSP leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, condemned the government's midnight crackdown on Ramdev and demanded that Supreme Court of India order an investigation into the incident stating that justice cannot be expected from the Central Government.[98][99]
  • Samajwadi Party: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav condemned the incident saying that the action shows Centre has lost its mental balance. Charging the ruling Congress Party, Yadav further said: "A Congress leader said that Baba is a thug. I want to say that Congress is the biggest thug and it should introspect its deeds.[98] "The government swooped down on Ramdev and his supporters as if it were carrying an attack on a foreign enemy," Yadav told reporters at a press conference.[99]
  • Rashtriya Janata Dal: RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav accused Ramdev of being a front for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.[100]
  • Communist Party of India (Marxist): CPI(M) termed the police action at the protest site of Ramdev as "deplorable and shortsighted". However, they found fault with the yoga guru for making the issue of black money "farcical" by entering into a secret agreement with government.[101] "The manner in which Ramdev's demands were drafted and the way in which he has conducted his interactions with the government, coming to a secret agreement to withdraw the hunger strike on the basis of assurances, then reneging and announcing its extension trivialised the seriousness of the issue of black money and made it farcical," the party said.[99]
  • Shiv Sena: The Shiv Sena strongly condemned the police action against Ramdev.[99]
  • Janata Dal (United): Nitish Kumar, leader of JD(U) and the Chief Minister of Bihar, condemned the attack saying "It is a major blow to democracy and an attack on the democratic rights of the people ... It is also an attack on the fundamental rights of the citizens.”[97]

Suo Moto cognizance by the Supreme Court[edit]

The Supreme Court of India issued notices to the Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary of Delhi, Delhi administration, and Delhi Police Commissioner. The bench expressed its displeasure that before the matter came up for hearing, the entire contents of the petition had been leaked to the media.[102] On 29 August 2011, the Court blamed the Delhi Police for the forcible eviction. The Delhi Police had earlier refused to file suo moto cognizance of the brutality on innocent protesters, as advised by the Court.[103]

August protests[edit]


On 18 July 2011, Hazare said that he had told the Prime Minister of his decision to go on an indefinite fast from 16 August at Jantar Mantar. He said that he was willing to be arrested and that the police had also been informed.[104][105]

Organizations such as the Mumbai Taximen's Union proposed to support him by withdrawing or limiting labour and the Mumbai chapter of India Against Corruption claimed in late July that nearly 44,000 people had shown interest in joining the forthcoming protest.[106] Lawyers of Allahabad High Court held protests in support of Hazare and pledged to go on hunger strike in support from 16 August.[107]

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad also came out in support of Hazare's movement, saying that for a strong Lokpal Bill, people from across the country should support his campaign.[108]

In a poll conducted by India Against Corruption in Karnataka, about 94.3% of Chikkaballapur constituency and 79.7% of Bangalore South wanted to bring the prime minister under the ambit of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The results showed that a majority of the population wanted the Jan Lokpal Bill to be passed by the Parliament and not the "watered down, toothless" bill drafted by the government. The 6,000 participants at the referendum also said that being representatives of the people, members of parliament should vote for the Lokpal, not as directed by their parties, but as by the voice of the majority in his/her constituency. The participants also voted to bring judges under the Lokpal, give adequate powers to the Lokpal to dismiss officers guilty of corruption, monitor corruption at the central as well as state level through Lokayuktas, and to bring all levels of officers under the bill. The questionnaire had a set of eight questions that brought out crucial differences between the Jan Lokpal Bill and the Lokpal Bill put forth by the government, and asked for the people's vote on the same. Around ten parliamentary constituencies across the nation conducted a similar exercise and the results from the nation-wide campaign will be consolidated and presented to the members of Parliament in time for the monsoon session.[109][110]

Hazare's arrest[edit]

India Against Corruption protestors in Pune.

On the morning of 16 August 2011, Hazare, along with close associates, was remanded to judicial custody for seven days. Hazare was picked up by police at about 7.30 am from a residence in east Delhi for "intending to defy prohibitory orders". Late afternoon, he was produced before a special executive magistrate. After he refused to sign a personal bond to be allowed to get out on bail he was remanded in judicial custody for seven days. Within hours of his detention, a spokesperson for Team Anna said that he had begun his hunger protest while in police custody and that he was not accepting even water to drink. The arrest of Hazare and some of his close associates, set off a groundswell of protests across the country and this appeared to be spreading quickly. The arrest was condemned by political parties, the chief ministers of some non-Congress ruled states, non-government organisations and even parliament did not transact any business after an uproar on the issue forced an adjournment for the day.[111]

As protests built up in several cities and towns over the arrest, Prashant Bhushan, one of Hazare's key associates, announced a march from India Gate to Parliament House on Wednesday to protest against the police action, which he said was taken at the behest of some cabinet ministers. Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta said that the police were not keen for Hazare be sent to judicial custody. He said police were prepared to release him on a personal bond if he would have given an undertaking that he would not defy Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code which prohibits the gathering of five or more people and ask his supporters not to do so also. Hazare was taken to the Tihar jail where he will spend the time in judicial custody. Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas and Manish Sisodia, three other leading activists of Team Anna, have also been sent to judicial custody on similar grounds. In a message released after his detention, Hazare said this was the beginning of the "second freedom struggle" and he called on people to participate in a "jail bharo" agitation.[112]

Opposition parties, peeved over the attitude of the Congress in parliament, said they would meet later today to decide on the course of action.[when?] Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta said he had proposed a boycott of parliament for three days. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat described the arrest as "a strong attack on democratic rights". Hours after arrest of Hazare, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj strongly condemned the action and demanded and explanation from Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh saying that the government is hell-bent on crushing the civil rights of the citizens.[113][114] Senior Bhartiya Janata Party leader L K Advani said he was not surprised at the detention of Mr Hazare and he charged the government with looking for scapegoats and stopping peaceful protests instead of fighting corruption. Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, that it was a very sad day for Indian democracy, where the ruling government took away the right to protest and the right to dissent.[115]

In Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar described the detention of Hazare and his associates as a "rehearsal of emergency" which people will never tolerate, and "a murder of democracy." Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal also condemned the arrests saying that the Congress has panicked over the movement of Anna Hazare and accused Congress leaders of stashing money abroad. In Chandigarh and Ludhiana, people from all walks of life took to the streets – despite inclement weather – to join the protest for a strong Lokpal. Among them were activists of the NGOs 'India Against Corruption' and 'Awaaz' who launched a relay hunger strike. Traffic was also blocked at several intersections. Slamming the Centre for detaining Anna Hazare and his aides, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister SK Modi today called upon the people to come to the streets to hold demonstration in support of Hazare's movement against corruption "peacefully and democratically."[116]

In Hyderabad, Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu asked the Prime minister Manmohan Singh to apologise to the nation for having sent Hazare and other social activists, who are fighting against corruption, to Tihar jail. In Maharashtra, crowds gathered in many cities and towns in response to Mr Hazare's call to court arrest. Thousands poured into south Mumbai's Azad Maidan since early in the morning, in preparation for the 'Jail Bharo' programme. A large number of people courted arrest in support of the demand for an effective Lokpal. Many people wearing 'Gandhi' caps with slogans 'I am Anna' gathered at the Reserve Bank of India Square, on the busy Nagpur-Jabalpur national highway that runs through the Civil Lines area.[117][118]

In Delhi, in protest against the arrest of Anna Hazare and his close aides by the Delhi Police, the members of All India Students Association showed black flags and shouted anti-government slogan against Kapil Sibal, who was to address a seminar at Malvankar Hall in city.[119]

Hazare on 16 August asked government employees across the country to go on mass leave to show solidarity with the movement. Union Home minister P. Chidambaram hoped they would not respond, describing the call as "completely wrong." Hazare's close associate and lawyer Prashant Bhushan urged government servants to join their cause and take a mass leave for a day and join the protests in their city.[120]

Hazare's release[edit]

After protests all over India, the Delhi Police decided to release Hazare after he had been sent to Tihar Jail for seven days. Hazare had even refused food and water intake in Tihar jail, indicating he would carry on his fast in jail. Hazare and his aides, including Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, were first taken to the Delhi Police Officer's Mess in North Delhi and were shifted to another after Hazare's supporters gathered in large numbers at Civil Lines. The Delhi Police sent a warrant to the Tihar Jail for the release of Hazare and his supporters withdrawing bail bond conditions, which Hazare had earlier refused to sign. Over 1,500 people who have been detained for taking part in protests demanding Hazare's release were released. Congress sources said that the Government decided to release Hazare and his supporters after coming to the conclusion that keeping him in jail would disrupt law and order unnecessarily. The decision to release Hazare was made after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who disapproved of the arrest, on the evening of 16 August. Hazare supporters Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan were released by the Delhi Police early on 16 August.[121][122] However, on release, Anna Hazare refused to leave Tihar jail until the government agreed to give unconditional permission to hold protests at JP Park.[123]

Anna Hazare agreed to leave jail after Delhi Police granted him permission to fast for 15 days against corruption at Ramlila Maidan, a larger venue than JP Park. However, he had to spend another night in jail as the venue was not ready.[124] On 19 August, at around 12noon IST, Anna left Tihar jail after 3 days. Supporters welcomed him with spontaneous roar as he headed towards Delhi's Ramlila Maidan to launch his hunger protest.[125]

Parliamentary debate[edit]

A debate on the Jan Lokpal bill was held in Parliament on 27 August 2011. With Hazare demanding three principles, (i) citizen charter, (ii) lower bureaucracy to be under Lokpal through an appropriate mechanism and (iii) establishment of Lok Ayuktas in the states, both houses of Parliament agreed to the principles.[126] It was then that Hazare agreed to break his fast after 12 days starting from 16 August 2011. However, Anna finally decided to break his fast on 28 August instead as he did not wish to break his fast after sunset.[127] At the time of breaking his fast, he said he was suspending his fast for the time being and will end it only after the strong Lokpal bill is passed by the Indian Parliament.

December protests[edit]

Anna Hazare on 27 December 2011, again began his fast demanding a stronger version of the ombudsman Lokpal bill at MMRDA ground, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. The basement of the protest was shifted from Delhi to Mumbai owing to the cold climate in the former city.[128] The members of India Against Corruption, including Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi insisted Hazare to end his fast taking into consideration his ill health, however the later remained adamant on continuing his protest. Hazare was suffering from cold and mild fever for few days before the fast.[129]

The participation of people is very low in comparison to August Movement. IAC expected 50,000 people where as only 4,000–5,000 people participated.

Parliament debate[edit]

27 December 2011 also saw Lok Sabha debating on Lokpal Bill in the parliament. The debate saw Bhartiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj punching holes in the government's Lokpal bill. She added that the government has been compelled to introduce the bill that envisages the setting up of an effective anti-graft ombudsman.[130] The debate resulted in Lokpal Bill being passed to Rajya Sabha, however was not given constitutional status as expected. The bill that would have granted the Lokpal constitutional status failed as the government did not manage the two-thirds majority[131] of MPs present and voting on two of the three clauses of the Constitutional Amendment Bill. Its numbers did not cross 273 which is just past the half-way mark of the total number of seats in the Lok Sabha. Both conditions need to be satisfied to amend the Constitution.[132]

The Lokpal Bill was sent for review to Indian President Pratibha Patil the next morning, on 28 December 2011. This is standard operating procedure for any legislation that will have financial implications. She later gave her assent for the Bill to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha, which is scheduled for discussion tomorrow.[133]

Detailed timeline[edit]

4 April 2011 (2011-04-04)
  • Hazare announced that he would commence his "fast unto death" and that this would last until a comprehensive measure to tackle corruption was introduced. He claimed that the government had excluded "civil society" from the panel set up to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill, and implied that at least one of the people who was to be on the drafting committee – Sharad Pawar – might be unsuitable for that role because of his large landholdings. Kiran Bedi and Swami Agnivesh voiced their support for Hazare.[38]
5 April 2011 (2011-04-05)
Protesters have come out in support of Anna Hazare
  • Campaigners for India Against Corruption (IAC) estimated that a petition circulated in the city of Pune which demanded that the government enact a bill had attracted between 5000 and 6000 signatures between 3 and 5 April. Hazare has been involved with IAC, a group established by various prominent activists with the primary purpose of achieving the legal enactment and subsequent enforcement of a strong version of the Jan Lokpal bill.[135]
7 April 2011 (2011-04-07)
Protests have continued as the Government fails to offer better terms to the activists
  • Two rounds of talks failed. There was agreement regarding constituting a panel to examine the Bill but the government would not accede to demands that it should be a formally constituted panel or that Hazare should lead it. As a consequence of this, Hazare continued his fast.[136]
  • Narendra Modi, the chief Minister of Gujarat lashes out at Manmohan Singh for resisting the passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill.[137]
  • Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress party and the head of the National Advisory Councilappealed to Hazare to end his indefinite fast.[138]
  • Hazare and the protesters tried to keep the protests non-political. No politicians were welcome at the site of the fast. FormerHaryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti and journalistBarkha Dutt were forced by civilians to leave, after the protesters objected to their presence, which they believed was harming the integrity of their movement.[139]
8 April 2011 (2011-04-08)
Protesters in Delhi
Protesters in Pune
  • Protests spread to numerous other places, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Pune, and the University of Jammu.[140]
  • The government continued to squabble with the activists stating that the bill drafting committee will be headed by a government appointed minister and not a civil society member as the protesters demanded to avoid allowing the government to make the bill less powerful.[141]
  • The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, met with the President of India to outline to her how the government was going ahead with the demands of the population.[141]
  • 15 supporters of Hazare on fast were hospitalised.[142]
  • Bollywood came out in support of the protests, with actors, musicians and directors speaking in support of the movement and Hazare. Director Farah Khan, actor Anupam Kher, music director Vishal Dadlani, poet-filmmaker Pritish Nandy and actor Tom Alter all visited Jantar Mantar; others stated their support for the movement via social networking websites or the media. Oscar winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman also declared his support for the anti-graft movement.[143]
  • Renowned Indian/Qatari artist Late M. F. Hussain showed his support by drawing a cartoon of Hazare.[144]
  • Indian students at Cambridge University, the former alma mater of the Indian Prime Minister also expressed their support for the movement.[145]
  • Many prominent people from government agencies as well as from various corporate houses came out in support of the movement. Some of them were – Delhi Metro chief E. Sreedharan.[146] (also called the Metro Man of India), Punj Lloyd chairman Atul Punj, Maruti Suzuki chairman R. C. Bhargava, Hero group's Sunil Munjal, Tata Steel vice-chairman B Muthuraman, Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj, Godrej Group head Adi Godrej, Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Kotak Mahindra Bank vice-chairman & managing director Uday Kotak. They all declared their support for Hazare and the movement.[147][148]
  • ASSOCHAM President Dilip Modi and FICCI Director General Rajiv Kumar, too came out in support of the movement.[147]
  • The Government of India accepted the compromise formula that there be a politician chairman and an activist non-politician Co-Chairman. It was reported that Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chairman of the draft committee while Shanti Bhushan will be the co-chairman.[149] Bhushan was one of the original drafters of the Lokpal Bill along with Hazare, Justice N. Santosh Hegde, advocate Prashant Bhushan, and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal.[150]
9 April 2011 (2011-04-09)
  • After accepting all the demands of Hazare, the Government of India issued an Official Gazette saying that the draft of the lokpal would be made and presented in the coming monsoon session of Lok Sabha.
  • Victory celebrations took place at locations throughout the country.[151] and even Hazare's village.[152][153][154]
  • Bollywood lauded the outcome, repeating their support for the movement.[155]
  • Protesters and leaders of the movement alike stated that the path to attaining complete passage of the bill is still a difficult one, and the movement may see harsher days ahead.[156]
  • Many commentators have called the movement the 'wake-up' call for India.[157][158]
I want to tell the government that we are not two but one. You should wipe it out of your mind that you are the masters. You are not the masters,

the people are. Gram Sabha is more powerful than Lok Sabha or State Assemblies

—Anna Hazare.

  • Within a day of the beginning of the agitation, more than 30,000 people had pledged their support to the Lokpal Bill. Organisers of the India Against Corruption said 30,000 people from Maharashtra expressed their support on their website.[159] The website has 20,000 members in Mumbai alone.[160] Within a few days the Facebook page for India Against Corruption had more than 220,000 likes.[161]
16 April 2011 (2011-04-16)
  • The first meeting regarding a draft of the Lokpal Bill was held on 16 April. The government agreed to audio-record all meetings of the Lokpal Bill panel and to hold public consultations before a final draft is prepared.[162] Hazare demanded that the proceedings be televised live but the government refused.[163]
4 June 2011 (2011-06-04)
  • Swami Ramdev begins his indefinite hunger strike at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi to bring back the black money stashed in tax havens abroad.[164]
  • 65,000 followers gathered at Ramlila Maidan.[71]
  • In a press conference in the evening Kapil Sibbal made public a letter from Ramdev's camp to call off the hunger strike. Ramdev took it as a betrayal and hardened his position.
5 June 2011 (2011-06-05)
  • At midnight, police raided the grounds. A large police force lobbed tear gas shells, burned the place and lathicharge the crowd at 1 am (IST) to evict them.[73]
  • Delhi Police arrested Ramdev, who was disguised in a salwar kameez with a group of female protesters heading peacefully towards the New Delhi Railway Station
  • Ramdev was held in a government guesthouse for a few hours and then sent to Dehradun in a BSF aircraft.
  • Ramdev was sent to his Patanjali Yogpeeth ashram in Haridwar where he delivered a press conference.[165]
  • 53 people were injured and were treated at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospital, AIIMS Trauma Center and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.[166][77][77]
  • One of Baba Ramdev's supporters was injured in the incident and her condition was still critical as of 17 August 2011.[167]
  • Protesters huddled near the Metro station, bus depots and railway stations. Many walked down to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib and other nearby ashrams.[168] According to New Delhi railway station authorities, supporters continued to leave in batches through the course of the day. While several supporters spent the day at a park near Ramlila Maidan, others took shelter at an Arya Samaj facility in Paharganj.[169]
  • Ramdev was prohibited from entering Delhi for 15 days.
6 June 2011 (2011-06-06)
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh justified the action against Baba Ramdev as an operation that had to be conducted, and that there was no alternative. However, Manmohan Singh did not elaborate as to why force was used on a peaceful gathering and why the swoop was done at 1 am in the morning.[170]
We are really curious why the government is against the idea of telecasting live the proceedings of the committee. The people ought to know the reasons why there is a difference between your and our viewpoint,

—Shanti Bhushan.[171]

9 June 2011 (2011-06-09)
  • Hazare described his fight against corruption as the "Second Freedom Struggle" and set an ultimatum of 15 August 2011, as the last date to pass a strong Jan Lokpal Bill, threatening to otherwise intensify his anti-corruption agitation and start another fast from 16 August.[172]
16 June 2011 (2011-06-16)
  • The Government and the civil society split wide open due to differences in jointly drafting the bill. Government representatives said that if a consensus on the common bill was not reached, two drafts would be sent to the Cabinet, one drafted by the Government and the other drafted by the civil society. Team Anna also claimed that only 15 points, out of a total 71 recommended, were agreed upon and included in the joint draft. Hazare declared that if the government version of the bill was passed in the Parliament, he would start his hunger strike from 16 August 2011.[173]
22 June 2011 (2011-06-22)
  • In a veiled warning to Anna Hazare for his proposed fast, Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Wednesday indicated that the Gandhian might be meted out the same treatment, depending upon the prevailing situation at that time, as yoga guru Ramdev was given at Ramlila ground.[174]
14 August 2011 (2011-08-14)
  • In a scathing attack on Anna Hazare, Congress spokesperson, Manish Tewari, and an MP from Ludhiana constituency, described Anna Hazare as being "involved in corruption from top to bottom", "neck deep in corruption”, and also mentioning that the social activist needed to be “shown his place”.[175]
15 August 2011 (2011-08-15)
  • Anna Hazare announced at a press conference that he and his supporters were determined to go ahead with the fast on 16 August 2011 as planned. He also urged people to court arrest to push for a stronger Lokpal bill.[176]
  • Section 144 was imposed a night before the planned protest date, at JP Park, Rajghat and Dilli Gate, which prohibited assembly of five or more persons.[176]
16 August 2011 (2011-08-16)
  • Anna Hazare was detained by Delhi Police in the early morning before he could start his hunger strike at JP park, Delhi. Delhi Police had asked Anna not to leave his home, which he declined, and Anna was detained at his residence in Mayur Vihar. Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and more than 1200 supporters[177] were also taken into preventive custody by the Police.[178][179]
  • Anna Hazare was sent to seven days judicial custody to Tihar jail after refusing to sign a personal bond to be released on bail.[180]
  • Kiran Bedi and Shanti Bhushan, detained by Delhi Police on the morning ahead of Anna Hazare's fast-unto-death, were released in the evening at around 6:30 pm IST.[181]
  • The current telecom minister Kapil Sibal was greeted with black flags and booed by a group of students at a seminar on the Jan Lokpal bill.[182]
  • With the Government of India, preparing to release Anna Hazare late in the night,[183] however Anna refused to come out of Tihar jail until the government agreed to an unconditional permission to hold protests at JP Park.[123]
  • Demonstrations were held all over India protesting Anna Hazare's arrest. In Chennai, Mahatma Gandhi's secretary, V Kalyanam led the protestors. He said – "India will get a sure gold medal if corruption is entered as an item in the Olympic Games. We may not be a force in football or athletics or hockey. But India is the undisputed global leader in corruption.” Referring to Anna Hazare’s arrest in New Delhi, Kalyanam said it was easier to fight foreign tyranny than the tyranny of our own people. He ridiculed the contention of Union ministers like Kapil Sibal and Chidambaram that Parliament was supreme and civil society had no voice.[184]
17 August 2011 (2011-08-17)
  • After almost a day, Anna still refused to leave jail and spent the night in a room in Tihar jail, despite the government decision to free him.
  • Delhi Police made concessions for Anna Hazare to fast, stepping up from seven days to 14 days and finally 21 days at Ramlila Maidan.[185]
  • Congress made a statement that they suspected a foreign hand in the protests and asked the government to probe if the US was behind Anna's agitation.[186]
18 August 2011 (2011-08-18)
  • Anna Hazare agreed to leave jail after Delhi Police granted him permission to fast for 15-days against corruption at Ramlila Maidan. However, he would spend another night in Jail till the venue is ready.[124][187]
  • Arvind Kejriwal left Tihar jail being there for two days. Kejriwal called this move as just the beginning of their fight against corruption, and also confirmed that Anna Hazare would leave the jail once the grounds at Ramlila Maidan are ready for the fast.[188]
19 August 2011 (2011-08-19)
21 August 2011 (2011-08-21)
  • Anna Hazare's camp on Sunday called their supporters to confront individual Members of Parliament and Union Ministers at their residence and also warned the UPA government that its days would be numbered if it failed to pass the Bill by 30 August.[193][194]
  • Over 100,000 supporters had thronged Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, to show their support against corruption.[195]
  • Around 50,000 supporters[196] marched in the streets on Mumbai to support Anna Hazare's call for an effective anti-corruption legislation. The marchers started from the Bandra railway station and walked all the way to Juhu, reportedly in one of the biggest protests in Mumbai.[197]
22 August 2011 (2011-08-22)
23 August 2011 (2011-08-23)
This kind of peaceful movement is possible only in India which is the birth place of Sathyagraha


24 August 2011 (2011-08-24)
  • Bharatiya Janata Party MP Varun Gandhi visited Ramlila Maidan on Wednesday morning. He stated his visit was as a common man and had nothing to do with his party as he supported the cause of Anna Hazare.[202]
  • An all-party meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his official residence in New Delhi represented by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. However the meeting ended with Mukherjee appealing Anna Hazare to end his fast, prompting the civil society to declare that they were "back to square one".[203][204]
25 August 2011 (2011-08-25)
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday offered a new formula saying that the Government was ready to debate all versions of the Lokpal Bill in circulation at Parliament. He also said that the bills prepared by Aruna Roy's NCPRI and Jaiprakash Narain will also be debated by the Parliament along with the Jan Lokpal Bill.[205]
  • Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh met Anna Hazare at his protest camp at Ramlila Maidan. Deshmukh reportedly conveyed a message from the Prime Minister to urge Anna to end his fast and also asked him to consider the Prime Minister offer to debate all versions of Lokpal Bill in Parliament.[206][207]
  • Anna Hazare had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to start the parliamentary discussion the next morning itself. Hazare had also put forward his three demands to the Prime Minister – Citizen's Charter, Lokayuktas in all states with Lokpal powers and inclusion of lowest to highest bureaucracy.[208]
  • Popular South Indian actor Vijay met Anna Hazare at Ramlila Maidan[209] and also fasted throughout the day to express his support towards anti-corruption. Saluting Hazare's "will-power", Vijay said its praiseworthy the way the movement got public support that too without any political background.[210]
26 August 2011 (2011-08-26)
27 August 2011 (2011-08-27)
Anna has not eaten for 12 days ... I am worried about you. In everyone's heart, there is concern for you. This will be a long process, and we need Anna's leadership for our struggle. So I urge him here to please end his fast today

Aamir Khan.[212]

  • Bollywood actor Aamir Khan met Anna Hazare at Ramlila Maidan. Supporting the anti-corruption campaign, Khan urged Anna to end his fast stating his leadership is required for the campaign as passing the bill will be a long process.[212]
  • Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday initiated his debate in the Parliament on the Lokpal Bill issue. Initiating the speech, Mukherjee again requested Anna to end his fast.[213]
  • Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sushma Swaraj, during the debate in Lok Sabha, expressed her party's support for Anna Hazare, and said the BJP largely agrees with the three pre-conditions (Citizen's Charter, Lokayuktas in all states with Lokpal powers and inclusion of lowest to highest bureaucracy) laid down by Anna to end his hunger strike and is willing to vote in favour it.[214]
  • Supporting Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement, singer Sonu Nigam performed at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday. Sonu took blessings of Anna, who was on his 12th day of his indefinite fast.[215]
  • Government agreed to voice vote on Lokpal debate in Parliament.[216]
  • Both the houses have passed the resolution agreeing upon all the three conditions set by Anna in Jan Lokpal Bill. "We have won only half the battle," said Hazare standing before wildly cheering crowds and flanked by his key aides and Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, former Maharashtra chief minister who has been an interlocutor. "I congratulate every MP on what has happened today." Anna Hazare said.[217] Anna Hazare also declared of breaking fast on Sunday morning at 10 am.[127]
28 August 2011 (2011-08-28)
  • Anna Hazare ended his 12-day fast after 288 hours on Sunday morning at around 10 am IST(UTC+05:30) before thousands of cheering supporters at Ramlila Maidan. Hazare was driven straight to Medanta Medicity run by eminent cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan who was attending to him along with his team during his entire period of fast.[218]
  • Thousands of supporters gathered at India Gate following anti-corruption crusader's call to celebrate.[219]
24 November 2011 (2011-11-24)
11 December 2011 (2011-12-11)
  • Anna Hazare sat on a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar protesting against proposals of Parliamentary Standing Committee on the anti-graft measure. The protest for the first time saw politicians sharing stage with Hazare, with leaders of BJP, CPI(M), CPI, JD(U), Akali Dal, TDP and BJD participated in the public debate on Lokpal bill.[221][222]
22 December 2011 (2011-12-22)
  • The expected introduction of the Lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha did not occur. Instead, the Food Security Bill was first introduced and subsequently the process of the Lokpal Bill was hindered by procedural and party political issues.[223][224] The Lokpal Bill that had been proposed previously was discarded by the government, who put forward a revised proposal, along with a Constitutional (116th Amendment) Bill, in an attempt to resolve the issues that were being raised during the session regarding reservation for minorities and other under-represented groups.[225]
  • Hazare announced that a hunger strike would take place on 27, 28, 29 and Jail Bharo Andolan subsequently to pressurise the Government.[226]
27 December 2011 (2011-12-27)
  • Anna Hazare began his fast demanding a stronger version of the ombudsman Lokpal bill at MMRDA ground, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, after paying respect at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Juhu. Thousands of his supporters had joined his rally from Juhu Beach to the MMRDA ground. The rally also saw India Against Corruption members Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, Hazare boarding an open truck to reach the fast venue.[227]
  • Hazare was greeted by some people with Black Flags. The first day also turned out to be disappointment for the people who support the movement as the turn out was very low.[228]
  • Hazare addressing the crowd for the first time at MMRDA ground, said, "Dil diya hai, he vatan, tere liye jaan bhi de denge", which translates to "I(Anna Hazare) have given my heart, ready to give my life for you(India)."[229]
28 December 2011 (2011-12-28)
  • On the second day of his fast, a day ahead of schedule, Hazare repeated his threat to campaign against Congress in the five poll-bound states for not bringing a strong Lokpal. Due to deteriorating health of Hazare and low turn out across the country were among the reasons for ending up his fast. He said that, the movement is not stopped, just postponed.[230]
  • Hazare also announced the cancellation of "Jail Bharo" movement due to his bad health condition.

International response[edit]

Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Victoria Nuland blamed 'some extremely inaccurate reporting out of India' for Indians taking umbrage over the US stand on Hazare's protest and said it supported the right of non-violent protest universally. She said "With regard to the case (Hazare), however, you know where we are. We support freedom of expression and assembly, and we encourage all countries and all parties to do the same. All democratic governments have a responsibility to allow peaceful protest and freedom of dissent, even as they work to maintain public safety."[231][232]

Continuation in 2012

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The present "India Against Corruption" is related to the HRA. According to the present IAC the term "IAC" was dubbed in 1973 by Raj Narain as a renaming of "India Against Colonialism", an organisation grounded by the HRSA in the 1920's.[14] The present IAC was formed in 2006.[14] Permission to use the name "IAC" was obtained from the "Hindustan Republican Army" in 2007. According to the present IAC, the name "IAC" came to be used in 2007 "for a movement to monitor accounts of the Common Wealth Games of 2010."[14] Between 2007 and 2010 this "Common Wealth Games-IAC" filed a series of coordinated Right to Information (RTI) requests to elicit information from the Government bodies and Games Organising Committees.[14] According to the present IAC, in 2010 the name "India Against Corruption" was adopted by the PCRF of Arvind Kejriwal "for a wider popular movement against the excesses of Congress".[14] According to the present IAC, "The usage of IAC name was only approved to protest and litigate against the Common Wealth Games 2010 scams in 2010, and was withdrawn on 9 Dec. 2010 to (sic) Team Arvind."[14] The 2006-IAC objected against the use of the term "IAC" by this popular movement for Lokpal Bill andolan and to the association of persons like Ramdev, Agnivesh, Kiran Bedi, Aruna Roy and others under its banner.[14] According to iamiac.com, "this movement and its logo have evolved from the movement "India against Colonization",[15] and are affiliated to "Hindustan Republic Association" originally founded by Sachindranath Sanyal and others in 1923 and revived in 1973 and have office bearers who have exclusive right to the use if its name and logo or to restrict its use."[15]


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External links[edit]

External images
Images of India protests over campaigner's arrest (BBC)
Images of Indians protest the arrest of Anna Hazare (Time)
Video of Anna Hazare phenomenon (YouTube)
Indian anti-corruption campaigner, freed from jail (Guardian)
Images of Indian Anti corruption Movement (Times of India)
Video of Indian Anti-Corruption Movements (WikiLeaks Forum)