Anna Hazare, India’s 73-year-old anti-corruption campaigner, began his fourth hunger strike of the year Tuesday, but it appears he might have to cut it short. Times of India reports that the activist is suffering from a high fever and a viral infection.
Support for the controversial campaigner has also died down in recent weeks, with reports of a turnout to his strike Tuesday of less than 2,000 compared with the predicted 100,000. Indian TV News journalist Poulomi Saha observed: “Numbers at [the] ground are not even a patch on the crowds ... in August.”
After the activist was detained in August while on a hunger strike, thousands of people took to the streets to support him. That same week, a well-known activist and supporter of Hazare’s was shot dead in Bhopal, a city in central India, allegedly by Indian police.
Videos posted to YouTube from this week’s hunger strike showed a difference scene — a scattering of support for the activist, and no police presence at all:
Hazare is campaigning for a stronger version of an anti-corruption bill that was passed by the powerful lower house of India’s Parliament on Tuesday.
The passage of bill followed hours of contentious debate, according to the Associated Press. It must now be passed by the upper house and signed by President Pratibha Patil before it comes into effect.
As The Post’s Rama Lakshmi reported from New Delhi last week, India has been trying to pass a law to check corruption for more than 43 years. Versions of the bill introduced in previous years have failed to pass 10 times.