Social activist Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike entered the fifth day today even as villagers blocked a state highway in support of his agitation in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, leading to traffic jams in the area.
Mr Hazare has been on a hunger strike since Wednesday in his native Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar demanding appointment of anti-corruption watchdogs at the Centre and in Maharashtra and resolution of farmers' issue.
In support of the 81-year-old Army man-turned- activist's demands, farmers and youth blocked the Ahmednagar-Pune state highway in the morning, resulting in huge traffic jams. They supported Hazare's demands for immediate appointment of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states where such statutory anti-corruption watchdogs do not exist, implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations on ways to address agrarian distress, besides some electoral reforms, the protest's convener, Shahir Gaikwad, told PTI.
The police, however, tried to pacify the protesters and asked them to clear the road blockade as there were around six-km-long traffic jams on both sides of the road, Supa police station's inspector Rajendra Bhosale said.
The police also detained around 110 protesters in the afternoon to clear the blockade and later let them off, he said.
Dr Dhananjay Pote, who conducted a health check-up of Mr Hazare in the morning, said the anti-corruption crusader has lost around 3.8 kg weight in the last five days and that his blood pressure, blood sugar and creatinine level urine have gone up.
Around 5,000 farmers from the district are likely to stage a protest outside the Ahmednagar collector's office on Monday to support Anna Hazare's agitation.
The decision for the protest at the collector's office was taken on Saturday night. Leaders of various political parties from Parner tehsil were present at the meeting and expressed their support to Anna Hazare's protest. Those present at the meeting also condemned NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik for levelling "false allegations" against Hazare.
Anna Hazare however has also appealed people to protest in a non-violent manner and also asked them to use decent and respectful language while expressing their feelings.