Indian anti-corruption activist forced to end hunger strike

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The Independent Online

The 74-year-old Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare cut short a three-day hunger strike yesterday as concerns mounted over his health.

Mr Hazare's doctors advised him to start eating again in the second day of his fast, citing low blood pressure and concerns about his kidneys.

India's lower house of parliament passed a landmark bill on Tuesday to create an anti-corruption ombudsman – a post that Mr Hazare campaigned to have created during a two-week hunger strike this summer.

He ended that fast after assurances the government would pass such legislation before the end of the year. But Mr Hazare has opposed the ruling Congress party's version of the bill, which is now before parliament's upper house. The government lacks a majority in the upper house, which can delay the legislation by sending it back to the lower house to advise changes.

Mr Hazare's support, numbering tens of thousands in the summer, has faded in recent months, though his call for a stronger ombudsman will figure prominently in the upper house debate, where a vote is expected today.