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India Anti-Graft Activist Anna Hazare Ends Hunger Strike

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An Indian reform activist whose protest galvanized the nation’s anger against corruption has ended his hunger strike on its 13th day after parliament agreed to his demands for tougher anti-corruption legislation.

The 74-year-old Anna Hazare ended his fast Sunday at an outdoor venue in New Delhi when a 5-year-old girl handed him a glass of coconut water and honey.

Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare

Hazare, who has lost weight during his hunger strike, is expected to be hospitalized Sunday. The Indian government had urged Hazare to let doctors feed him intravenously during his fast, but the activist refused.

Lawmakers from India’s ruling Congress party and main opposition held a special parliamentary session Saturday, where they backed a resolution by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to create an independent ombudsman with wide-ranging power to investigate lawmakers, the judiciary and bureaucrats.

Earlier Saturday, Mukherjee had 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.

Popular outrage over the corruption scandals has grown steadily in India in the past year.

Hazare’s fast has united millions of Indians against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

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