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Indian anti-corruption activist fasts for 10th day as talks stall

From Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Activists hold talks with the government about the anti-corruption bill
  • Anna Hazare continues his fast and says he feels fine
  • Prime minister urges Hazare to end his hunger strike

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Talks stalled between the Indian government and supporters of Anna Hazare, as the anti-corruption activist's hunger strike entered its 10th day Thursday.

Hazare said he was feeling fine as he addressed supporters during a televised address. He urged supporters to shun violence in their quest to get an anti-corruption bill, aimed at setting up a citizen ombudsman, called the Lokpal.

Activists and federal ministers were negotiating Wednesday to end the bill's deadlock. It seemed at one point Wednesday, progress was being made, but hours later Hazare supporters were accusing the government of not being flexible.

The talks have stalled so much that they would need to start over, said Kiran Bedi, Hazare's adviser.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged Hazare to end his hunger strike and said that a compromise can be found.

Hazare's critics call for compromise
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In his letter, Singh also said that fighting corruption is a common objective.

"I have maintained that your and our object is identical ... to reduce significantly, if not eliminate, the scourge of corruption from this country," Singh wrote. "At worst, our paths and methodologies may differ, though I do believe that even those differences have been exaggerated."

"The government is committed to passing a constitutionally valid and the best possible Lokpal legislation with inputs from civil society with the broadest possible consensus," Singh said in the letter posted on the government's website.

 
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