01/10/2014, 00.00
INDIA
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New Delhi: thousands of calls flood anti-corruption hotline

In just seven hours, almost 4,000 people called the hotline launched by the local government yesterday morning. For Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the Indian capital and leader of the anti-corruption AAP Party, the response exceeds expectations. Critics however fear a witch-hunt against public officials and bureaucrats accused of bribery.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Thousands of calls have already flooded a toll free number set up yesterday morning by New Delhi authorities to allow ordinary citizens to report cases of corruption.

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP or Common Man Party), spearheaded the initiative following his December victory state election on an anti-corruption platform.

A follower of Anna Hazare, a Gandhian activist anti-corruption and leader, Kejriwal said that 3,904 calls came in during the first seven hours of operation, exceeding all expectations.

Corruption is one of the major problems facing India's public service. The practice is so ingrained that people have to pay bribes for every service: marriage certificates, driving licenses, mail, and permits of various kinds, including death certificates.

The anti-corruption hotline is open from 8 am to 10 pm, providing people with advice as to what actions they can take against government officials who asks for a bribe to perform their duty.

Kejriwal said the hotline centre was able to handle only 824 of the calls that came in on Thursday but that it would double its staff to 30 to handle the flood of callers.

The toll free number set up by Kejriwal's party has been a success, but has also elicited some criticism.

Many fear that the AAP's anti-corruption activism will turn into a political witch-hunt.

In recent days, the AAP leader has called on ordinary citizens to tape conversations with corrupt officials and use recordings as "proof" to frame them.

According to The Mail Today, in just a week stores selling surveillance equipment and cameras have been literally besieged by customers.

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