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India: Protests against corruption spread

A veteran Indian social activist plans to defy a police ban and go on a hunger strike in the capital today to protest against corruption and the crackdown on a peaceful fast led by a popular yoga guru.

Plans by Anna Hazare to begin a hunger strike with his followers will put further pressure on the government to act on popular anger about mounting graft across all layers of Indian society.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi have come in for criticism for sending hundreds of police using batons and tear gas on Sunday to break up a hunger strike by Swami Ramdev and tens of thousands of his followers in Delhi.

"India is a democratic country. Peacefully protesting and assembling without arms is legal," said Arvind Kejriwal, an associate of Mr Hazare.