Police pressure forces 2 IAC activists to abandon fast

Two India Against Corruption (IAC) activists yesterday gave up their five-day-old fast in the city under police pressure. The activists had embarked on the fast in support of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s indefinite hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for the passage of the Jan Lokpal bill.

Shrikant Acharya (52) and Jagannath Hendre (68) abandoned their hunger strike at Kamala Arcade on JM Road yesterday morning after the police said they would not only file suicide bid cases against them but also forcibly take them to Sassoon General Hospital to put them on saline.

Over for now: Shrikant Acharya and Jagannath Hendre (right) sip on juice yesterday morning as they abandon the hunger strike they began five days ago at Kamala Arcade on JM Road

Stepping in for Acharya and Hendre, three IAC activists, Neelesh Bhosale, Amit Kharade and Mangesh Memane, began an indefinite hunger strike yesterday afternoon.

The police defended their actions, saying they had now told the three new agitators they could expect the same treatment. “Giving a warning to activists sitting on hunger strike is a legal procedure and we shall not allow anything that is likely to be a direct threat to the health of the agitators,” Senior Police Inspector Manohar Joshi of the Deccan Gymkhana police station. “Saving their lives is our responsibility and therefore we shall not hesitate to take them to Sassoon hospital to put them on saline. The same warning has been given to the three new agitators who have started their indefinite hunger strike.”

‘Sassoon scary idea’
Acharya, who lost 6 kg in the five days of his fasting and also saw his sugar level plummet, said: “Getting admitted to Sassoon hospital is a nightmare for me as anything can happen to me there. The police wanted us to give up fasting from day before yesterday, when doctors from Sassoon hospital submitted their report to the police.”

Hendre, who also saw his sugar level go down during the fasting, said he wanted to begin fasting again.  “I shall sit again for hunger strike in the next two day,” he said. “We obeyed police order because Anna’s team member Kiran Bedi had suggested we do not to take any hasty decisions and stressed on the agitation remaining peaceful. The decision to leave the fasting was taken after consulting my IAC colleagues.” 

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