By UCA News
By Ritu Sharma
Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare called off his hunger strike Sunday after the government caved in and accepted his demands for a stricter law to stop corruption.
Last Friday the head of the Catholic bishops had urged him to end the fast, which finally finished in its 13th day.
“The state of health of Anna Hazare is causing great concern,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who is also the Archbishop of Bombay.
Hazare was campaigning for a stronger anti-corruption law and gave a written assurance to the prime minister that he would end his fast if a resolution on a Lokpal (ombudsman bill, aimed at beating corruption) is passed in parliament.
The cardinal appealed to the government and Hazare to be flexible and “start talking effectively.”
He said: “We have to honor the constitution. I appeal to all to work, united and selflessly, within these parameters to arrive at a just solution that is good for the people of the country.”
Cardinal Gracias also clarified the Church’s stand on the issue. “I wish to reiterate clearly that the Church is fully with Anna Hazare in his strong campaign against corruption,” he said.
He said that having a strong anti-corruption bill is like having an effective police force: to catch and punish those who break the law.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday offered a parliamentary debate on the bill in an attempt to persuade Hazare to end his hunger strike.
The bill, including the draft written by Hazare’s team, was discussed yesterday in parliament.
Hazare insisted on an assurance that three sticking points of the bill—inclusion of lower bureaucracy, setting up of vigilance officers in all states and bringing a citizens’ charter for public services—be incorporated in the new bill after a debate.