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Indian Americans across US to join Baba Ramdev’s Satyagraha

May 20
23:56 2011

Dr. Bhishma Agnihotri announcing support to Baba Ramdev's anti-corruption movement in India

NEW JERSEY: Members of the Friends of India Society International (FISI) along with the Bharat Swabhiman Overseas (BSO) as well as the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) have declared their support to Baba Ramdev’s movement against corruption in India and his indefinite fast (Bhrashtachar Mitao Satyagrah) beginning June 4 in New Delhi.

At a meeting held at the Mahatma Gandhi Center in Wayne, New Jersey, Dr. Bhishma Agnihotri, president of FISI and former Ambassador-at-Large for NRIs, said groups of supporters will also be observing a token hunger fast in support of Baba Ramdev’s movement, in cities across the US on June 4.

The OFBJP national executive committee resolved to organize mass protests on that day. The OFBJP-led protests will be organized in New York City, Upstate NY, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington DC, Richmond-VA, Tampa-FL, Houston-TX, Dallas-TX, St. Louis-MO, Atlanta-GA, Chicago-IL, Boston-MA, and California.
At the FISI meet, Agnihotri said Baba Ramdev had launched his anti-corruption movement – the Bharat Swabhiman movement – five years ago, and what he was tackling was much broader in scope than the movement against corruption launched by social activist Anna Hazare a couple of months ago.

“India is in trouble,” said Agnihotri referring to the rampant corruption in the country. “I am a soldier in the fight against corruption. I told Ramdevji that I will dedicate the rest of my life to this cause.”

Agnihotri said one needed total commitment to fight such an issue as corruption and “because the issue is so huge, if we don’t do anything all progress India has achieved will go down the drain.”

FISI, Agnihotri said, was created to support the anti-government movement launched by Jayaprakash Narain against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s rule in the 1970s. “But now the fight is not against any one government,” Agnihotri pointed out. “It is against the very system that needs to be changed. Our purpose is to bring about a system change.”

NJ-based businessman Mridul Pathak, in his observations, said it was important to root out corruption from one’s mind first especially in a country like India which has a parallel economy running. “We all know the power of fasting as a form of protest. We saw it of Anna Hazare recently. Hope June 4 brings a new era in the country,” he said about the proposed Satyagraha.

Pathak added that people should now think inward. “We should cleanse ourselves first and then take on the world.”

Another speaker, Jyontindra Patel said leaders like Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare should work together. Corruption, he said, was cancerous and the only cure for it in a democracy was the elections where people have the right to decide.

Baba Ramdev, who is known for his healing techniques through yoga and herbal medicine, as also for his political views, has said that he would break his fast only if the government drafts a strong anti-corruption Bill that includes a death sentence for the corrupt.

Ramdev’s three major demands are: Take initiative to get back the black money stashed in foreign banks; take strong action against the corrupt; and make strong legislation like Lokpal Bill against corruption.

OFBJP President, Dr. Adapa Prasad gave a call to the Indian American community to come out and join the protest. Referring to the recent multi-crore scandals involving central ministers, Prasad that India was never looted in such a fashion either by the Turk-Afghan/Arab-Mongol invaders or European intruders.

The OFBJP says that the corrupt were finding new and innovative ways to loot and stash away illegal monies in far off countries.

There is a published report from Caribbean islands about how some Indian investors have been buying up small islands in recent times and the suspicion points to the involvement of high profile politicians from India.

“Now, we learn that these politicians and bureaucrats have been channeling their monies through middle men like Hasan Ali,” the OFBJP officials said.

SRIREKHA CHAKRAVARTY
India Post News Service

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