Police order India activist freed after protests

Police order India activist Anna Hazare freed after protests

NEW DELHI,  (Reuters) – Police ordered the release of  India’s leading anti-corruption campaigner from jail yesterday  after mounting nationwide protests against his arrest for  planning a hunger strike forced a U-turn by beleaguered Prime  Minister Manmohan Singh.

Veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare gestures from a car after being detained by police in New Delhi yesterday. REUTERS/Adnan Abid

The arrest of the 74-year-old Anna Hazare early yesterday  sparked outrage from opposition parties and spontaneous  protests, from candle-light vigils to the burning of effigies of  government figures, in cities across India.

Dressed in his trademark white shirt, white cap and  spectacles in the style of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi,  Hazare has won support from many Indians sick of endemic  corruption in Asia’s third largest economy.

A close aide who had also been arrested told reporters  Hazare was refusing to leave the jail until he obtained  government permission to continue his fast in a park in the  capital.

Police also released about 1,500 of Hazare’s followers  detained in Delhi for defying the police order not to protest.

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