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Anna Hazare refuses to leave jail in India

India's corruption fighter says he won't leave jail until authorities grant him permission to hold his fast in a city park.

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India's famous corruption fighter, Anna Hazare, has refused to leave jail despite the government's offer to free him.

Hazare spent a night in Delhi's Tihar jail and said he will not leave until the government grants him permission to hold his indefinite public fast at a city park, BBC reports. Hazare began his hunger strike in jail Tuesday.

He is using a public fast to draw attention to corruption in the government and force authorities to enact tougher anti-corruption laws. He is protesting an anti-corruption law before the Indian parliament that he feels does not go far enough.

Protesters gathered outside the jail Wednesday and chanted "down with corruption" and "hail Mother India," the Associated Press reports.

Authorities arrested Hazare Tuesday morning, a few hours before his proposed fast, and detained 1,300 people in an attempt to prevent mass protests and a public hunger strike.

As news of Hazare's arrest spread, protests broke out in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and other Indian cities Tuesday.

(Read more on GlobalPost's Bricyard blog: Indian social activist's fast against corruption draws thousands of followers)

The government then reversed course and agreed to free Hazare Tuesday evening, but the 74-year-old activist refused the offer without written consent that he can continue his fast in a central Delhi park, the Washington Post reports.

“He will not come out of prison unless the government gives him a written and unconditional permission to fast in the park,’’ reportedly activist Manish Sisodia told journalists. Sisodia himself was earlier detained. “He is continuing his hunger strike inside the jail.’’ 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended the government's arrest of Hazare, saying Hazare and his supporters had made it clear they wanted to break the law, India's DNA reports.

"It is the sole prerogative of Parliament to make laws and government has gone by well-settled principles. Team Anna must allow elected representatives of the people in Parliament to do their job," he said in a statement.

Hazare has become the face of a nation-wide movement against corruption in India in the wake of numerous scandals involving high-profile politicians.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/110817/india-anna-hazare-refuses-leave-jail