Indian anti-corruption activist refuses to leave jail

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Indian anti-corruption activist refuses to leave jail

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Protests have spread across India for a second day in support of an elderly anti-corruption campaigner who is on hunger strike.

Anna Hazare, who styles himself on India’s independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, refused to leave jail on Wednesday after the government u-turned over his detention and ordered his release.

The 74-year-old was arrested on Tuesday, hours before beginning a hunger strike, demanding stricter anti-corruption laws.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dismissed Hazara’s fast as “totally misconceived” and said that such laws should be passed by parliament and not on the streets.

Singh warned that Hazare’s actions would have “grave consequences” for India’s parliamentary democracy.

Hazare’s protests have galvanised Indians of all backgrounds to take to the streets of major cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, and even remote villages.

Thousands of people have begun their own snap fasts, staged sit-ins and blocked roads.

The protests even led one commentator to suggest that India could be facing its own Arab spring.