Guru ends anti-corruption hunger strike

Popular yoga guru Swami Ramdev yesterday called off his hunger strike against corruption after intervention by a prominent spiritual figure.

Ramdev fasted for a total of eight days at his ashram despite police last week using batons and tear gas to disperse his followers in New Delhi. Swami Ramdev, who travels by private jet and boasts a daily television audience of 30 million, was admitted to hospital on Friday suffering from dehydration.

Indian media reports said Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual guru with an even greater following than Ramdev, had persuaded the fasting guru to call off the protest on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. Anger over corruption has spiralled as the government has become embroiled in a series of scandals, including a telecom licensing kickback scam that may have cost the exchequer up to $39 billion.

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Swami Ramdev had called on the government to pursue billions of dollars in illegal funds abroad and introduce tough anti-corruption legislation.