Anti-rape protester calls off indefinite hunger strike

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) One of the two protesters on indefinite fast at the Jantar Mantar to demand stronger anti-rape laws ended his 14-day-long hunger strike Monday after he was admitted to hospital when his condition deteriorated.

Rajesh Gangwar, 45, was admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital Sunday in a critical condition. Though he had expressed his desire to sit on hunger strike again, he gave in to the requests of other protesters and the advice of doctors to call off his hunger strike.

He accepted a glass of juice from the hands of a seven-year-old girl, Sahiba, in the evening, in a symbolic gesture calling off his hunger strike, Prashant Yadav, an aide of Gangwar, told IANS.

"My fight to demand a strict law against rape will be continued in the future...I have dedicated myself for this cause," Gangwar declared after ending his fast.

"His condition is stable now. He told us today that once he is discharged from the hospital, he wants to join the protesters again at Jantar Mantar," said Yadav.

Gangwar, who hails from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, had been fasting at Jantar Mantar since Dec 24 to demand speedier justice for the 23-year-old gang-rape victim.

Along with other protesters, he had been braving the winter chill for over 14 days at Jantar Mantar to demand justice for the gang-rape victim and stronger anti-rape laws.

Doctors said his sugar level had gone down Sunday which could have resulted in brain damage. "But his condition has improved. He is stable now," a doctor said.

The Dec 16 brutal gang-rape incident led to massive protests in the capital, with people arriving from different parts of the country at Jantar Mantar.

The sub-zero temperature has failed to dampen the spirit of the protesters.

Babu Singh, 40, a farmer from Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh, is the other person on indefinite fast at the Jantar Mantar. He has been on fast since the past 10 days.

--Indo-Asian News service

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