Anna Hazare’s arrest sparks anger in US

August 17th, 2011 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 17 (IANS) As social activist Anna Hazare’s detention sparked anger among Indian-Americans, Arun Gandhi, US-based grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said the government action made it a clash of cultures of violence and non-violence.

“Hazare’s arrest had shifted the focus of the debate from corruption to the right to protest in the world’s largest democracy,” Gandhi, who founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, at the University of Rochester, told Firstpost, a community newspaper.

“It has not only shifted the debate but it has made it plain that this is a fight between the ‘culture of violence’ represented by the government and the ‘culture of nonviolence’ represented by Anna Hazare,” he was quoted as saying.

Gandhi felt Hazare’s tactics were a direct throwback to those employed successfully by his grandfather when India was fighting for independence from Britain.

Meanwhile, Indian students protested outside the Indian embassy in Washington and Indian-Americans held spontaneous sit-ins outside Indian consulates across the US.

Student activist Ashutosh Gupta, Physics graduate from IIT-Kharagpur and a Ph.D student at the University of Maryland, College Park said he expected the numbers at the sit-in outside the Indian embassy in Washington to swell.

“As Hazare was put in jail yesterday, we took to the streets and did a jail bharo emulation,” said California-based computer programmer Sreekanth Kocharlakota, who is an active member of People for Lok-Satta, a community organisation.

“At midnight, we went to a 24-hour Walmart and bought $1 kids’ handcuffs. We handcuffed ourselves and protested on the streets in Los Angeles. There were police around, but we were engaging in a peaceful demo for India.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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