DEHRADUN/NEW DELHI: A 34-year-old ascetic, Swami Nigamananda, died here after fasting for nearly four months to save the river Ganga from pollution. Nigamananda died here Monday at the same hospital where Ramdev was being treated until his discharge Tuesday.
Swami Nigamananda, who was on fast since February 19 demanding a halt to quarrying in Ganga, died due to coma, septicaemia and degenerative brain disorder, his postmortem report has said. He was in coma since May 2. “The saint laid down his life for the Ganga. I pay my tribute to Swami Nigamananda,” Ramdev told reporters.
The death of Nigamananda during his fast against alleged corruption in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Uttarakhand provided ammunition to Congress to take on the opposition party for not backing his cause in the manner it did for anti-graft crusaders Ramdev and Mr Anna Hazare. BJP, in turn, accused Congress of playing “politics” over the seer’s death.
Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh held Uttarakhand government responsible for the death of the seer of Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram and threatened to take action against the mining mafia against whom he was fighting. The seer was on fast against quarrying in Ganges and also illegal mining.
“In view of the fact that the state government has demonstrated a continued reluctance to take action against illegal mining, I think, we will have no option but to invoke Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act and take action on our own,” the Minister said responding to volley of questions about the death of the seer after his nearly four-month fast.
AICC general secretary, Mr Janardan Dwivedi said it was “very unfortunate and saddening” that the Chief Minister of a party (Ramesh Pokhriyal) which does not stop swearing in the name of Ganga and Ram, was busy paying his attention to the other “political game” but did not take notice of Nigamanand. He described the seer as a person who was agitating for saving Ganges river and checking illegal mining with firm determination and in a spirit of “true Satyagraha.”