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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Candlelight vigil held in solidarity for Indians

A 73-year-old is using hunger strikes to pressure the government to adopt reforms much like Gandhi during India's fight for independence from British colonial rulers.

DUBAI // An anti-corruption campaign sweeping India found support in Dubai last night with about 150 men, women and children lighting candles for a man being hailed as a modern day Mahatma Gandhi.

Dubai-based Indians held a two-hour candlelight vigil at the Jumeirah Open Beach to show solidarity with their countrymen after a series of hunger strikes and peaceful protests against corruption across India this week led by the activist Anna Hazare.

The 73-year-old uses hunger strikes to pressure the government to adopt reforms much like Gandhi during India's fight for independence from British colonial rulers.

"We prayed for Hazare. If someone over 70 stays hungry so people wake up, we can keep the flame alive here as well," said Jishi Samuel, an Indian engineer who came with his teenage son.

As a result of Mr Hazare's campaign, the Indian government yesterday announced it would work with activists to draft a committee to investigate corruption allegations.

"Even as non-resident Indians we can spread awareness against corruption," said Ridhi Sagar, a Dubai-born Indian expatriate.

Hazare has consumed nothing but water during his five-day fast, which is due to end today.

His protest, which began in a tent by the roadside in New Delhi, has struck a chord among Indians angry at their government, following a slew of scandals involving politicians and bureaucrats accused of misusing their office for personal benefit.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

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