Indian anti-corruption activist hospitalized

Anna Hazare breaks his fast with a glass of juice Wednesday but pledged a renewed campaign.

Story highlights

  • Advised by doctors, Anna Hazare this week cut short his hunger strike
  • He has campaigned against endemic corruption in India
  • A hospital official says Hazare has "no major problems but he requires rest"
Indian anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was hospitalized Saturday night, days after ending a hunger strike aiming at drawing attention to his cause, a top hospital official told CNN's sister network.
Hazare was taken to the Sancheti Institute, a hospital in Pune, because of a severe cold and chest congestion, hospital chairman Dr. Parag Sancheti told CNN-IBN.
"So he has been admitted, and we have sent him for blood tests and an EKG," Sancheti said. "No major problems but he requires rest. He has been given antibiotics, and we are sure that his condition will stabilize in four to five days time."
Hazare had launched a three-day hunger strike to coincide with a special three-day parliamentary session as it considered a landmark anti-corruption bill. But the 74-year-old fell ill and, on the advice of doctors, abandoned the fast Wednesday.
Dr. Daulat Pote, who then examined Hazare, said the activist's blood pressure was up and he was running a fever. He was coughing on stage and appeared tired but remained determined in his cause.
"Our fight is for the common man," said Hazare, who has fashioned his protest actions after Mahatma Gandhi. "We want justice for him."
Ultimately, time ran out on the bill, which would have created a citizen ombudsman or Lokpal committee with powers to investigate politicians. This lack of action followed a raucous debate and high drama in the Rajya Sabha, or India's upper house of parliament, with the floor at one point disintegrating into utter chaos when an opposition lawmaker ripped apart documents and tossed them on the floor.
Hazare is chief among those credited with shining a spotlight on India's chronic corruption. He and other critics of the government said that the version of the legislation approved by India's lower house of parliament -- which ultimately stalled in the higher chamber -- was watered down to the point where it would not make much of a difference.
Corruption has been a part of daily life in India for many years. The first time a Lokpal bill was introduced in Parliament was over four decades ago.
But a series of high-profile scandals that rocked the current administration brought the issue to the fore.
In April, former telecommunication minister Andimuthu Raja was among a dozen defendants charged in a multibillion-dollar telecom scheme involving the underselling of cell phone licenses.
Investigators also probed complaints of financial malfeasance in the Commonwealth Games that India hosted in October last year.
Earlier this week, Hazare told a crowd in Mumbai that he would tour five states holding elections early next year to help defeat politicians who opposed his proposed anti-graft measures.
But he postponed a planned civil disobedience action at the homes of politicians.