Indian Activist Agrees to End Hunger Strike

Posted August 27th, 2011 at 12:40 pm (UTC-5)
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An Indian activist says he will end his nearly two-week hunger strike after parliament agreed to his demands for tougher anti-corruption legislation.

Anna Hazare said Saturday he will end his fast on Sunday morning.

His announcement came after lawmakers from India's ruling Congress party and main opposition held a special parliamentary session Saturday, in response to a hunger strike by the 74-year-old activist.

After the session, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said parliament expressed support for a new anti-corruption bill that includes demands put forth by Hazare. One of his demands is the creation of an independent agency to monitor politicians and government officials.

Earlier Saturday, Mukherjee urged lawmakers to find a solution to the corruption problem in India, where a series of high-profile corruption scandals has made national headlines. The scandals include the sale of telecommunications licenses at below-market value and many financial irregularities in India's hosting of the Commonwealth Games last year.

On Friday, the heir to India's most powerful political family, Rahul Gandhi, warned that the country's democracy is under threat from Hazare's anti-corruption campaign. Instead of a bill, Gandhi proposed creating a constitutional body to fight corruption.

Hazare's fast has united millions of Indians against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. The activist has been encamped in an open-air venue in New Delhi with thousands of supporters.

Mr. Singh's government and members of the opposition have urged Hazare to let doctors feed him intravenously, but the activist has refused.

Popular outrage over corruption has grown steadily in India in the past year, amid a series of high-profile corruption scandals.