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LinkAsia | Mar 6
Our series on voter discontent in Asia democracies continues, as contributor Ajoy Bose reports from New Delhi on the wave of public disgust with co...
Although the protests have only hit the streets recently, people have long been voicing their grievances in private. And in the past couple of years, they’ve started to use social media to protest corruption. Here’s our contributor, Shuriah Niazi, with more.
India’s cyberspace is celebrating Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement as the second freedom struggle, comparing it to Mahatma Gandhi’s fight against British colonialism. The online community has pledged its support in large numbers.
Bollywood director Farhan Akhtar who has always been vocal about his views, tweets: "Anna’s arrest is unconstitutional and shows symptoms of an authoritarian mindset."
The Facebook page of Hazare’s website, "India Against Corruption," received angry posts from users after his detention. A user, Neeraj Nanda, commented: "Big shame for government of India who feels proud to arrest innocents, but feel ashamed to arrest terrorists. Learn something from other countries’ politicians who have some self respect and resigns when something goes wrong..."
Similarly, a website started a few months back called "I Paid A Bribe.com," is fighting corruption online. Here’s a table showing the five most corrupt cites in India. Look at Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state. It’s No.1 in the whole country. Over here is a place where people can share these stories. This man from Bangalore said, he had to pay 500 rupees, about 11 U.S. dollars, to get a broadband connection. Another said, he had to pay 1,000 rupees, or 22 dollars, to get his house registered with the city tax man. He paid a bribe for the privilege of getting taxed. This post is about paying a one million rupee bribe to get a permit to build a house in Chennai, and on and on.
Over here on the website is a scroll showing stories from the mainstream media about corruption. The scroll never seems to stop. This is also a place for people who refuse to pay bribes to corrupt officials. This post says a cop asked for hundred rupees to ignore an illegal U-turn. Since the fine is less than a hundred, drivers are advised to refuse to pay.
Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign now has the support of Indians on the street as well as on the web, among the poor as well as the middle class. That’s because grafts, bribes, and kickbacks seem to affect all classes in India.
I’m Shuriah Niaizi, for LinkAsia.