On a cold wintry evening, a large group of Indians gathered outside Aoetea Square in Auckland’s CBD, displaying their support to what has become a mass movement against corruption in India.
Reminding the size of corruption in India, one placard read: “Indian-owned Swiss bank account assets are 13 times the country’s national debt.”
Supporting Anna Hazare’s fast for the introduction of Jan Lok Pal bill, a legislation which millions of Indians have pinned their hope on for the removal of perennial corruption, the Auckland protest was organised by Indo Kiwi Forum.
“My father in India urged me to do something in New Zealand to support Anna,” one of the organisers, Munish Bhatt, told The Global Indian magazine.
“My father has written an article in one of the Indian newspapers and was keen that Kiwi Indians also expressed their solidarity.
“It is such (corrupt) because of which all of us (non-resident Indians) are here today,” says Bhatt.
The forum says it is the voice of Indians in New Zealand and is keen to do all things conducive for the empowerment of Kiwis of Indian origin in New Zealand. “This democratic body constitutes modern day Kiwi Indians with origins from India, Fiji, South Africa and other parts of the world,” the group says.
In the meantime, 74-year old Anna Hazare is experiencing deterioration in health as his fast enters 10th day.
Team Anna has expressed doubts that their talks with the ruling Congress party members will result in any solution as the deadlock continues.
The Congress stands divided over the anti-corruption bill (Jan Lokpal bill) as the party’s internal differences are preventing the negotiators from reaching a solution.
While the Auckland group was protesting in chilly weather, the Indian government took an about-turn. India’s finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee said that due consideration would be given to Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill, but showed no willingness to table the bill in the parliament.