The death of Swami Nigamanand in the same hospital in Dehradun where yoga guru Baba Ramdev was admitted, has caught the BJP on the wrong foot.
Swami Nigamanand, who was fasting to save the Ganga from illegally quarrying companies, died 115 days into his fast virtually unsung, unknown at Dehradun’s Himalayan Hospital.
Swami Nigamanand had gone into a coma after being on a hunger strike since February 19. There couldn’t have been a worse advertisement for the BJP, which is the ruling party in Uttarakhand and more so, because the religious sentiment associated with the Ganga.
The BJP now stands accused of being hand in glove with illegal miners. It also stands accused using Ramdev to get back at the Congress.
While the BJP government in Uttarakhand did all it could to convince Ramdev to break his fast over black money and corruption, Nigamanand’s appeal to stop quarrying activities near the Ganga fell on deaf ears.
Swamy Nigamanand died of dehydration on Monday. Ramdev, who was attended by a team of doctors at the same hospital, was discharged on Monday.
Swami Sivanand, another crusading spiritual guru working in the same area, has filed a complaint against the chief medical superintendent of the Haridwar District Hospital for negligence.
The head of Matri Sadan, Swami Shivanand, hit out at the state administration for Nigamanand’s death. “He was fighting for a just cause. He has been poisoned by those he opposed. All he was trying to do was to save the Ganga from those whose pockets were hurt by his campaign,” Shivanand said.
“It is for all those who ran after Ramdev to explain why him and not Nigamanandâ€¦If the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand wants to kill us by poisoning or bullets, let him. We will always speak the truth,” Shivanand added.
The Congress was also quick to attack the BJP over Swamy Nigamanand’s death. Leader of Opposition in Uttrakhand assembly Harak Singh Rawat (Congress) has demanded CBI inquiry into the death of Swami Nigamanand. Uttrakhand government was adopting double standards. While Ramdev was being given a VIP treatment, Nigamanand was being neglected,” Rawat said.
Rawat also alleged that the state government itself, with the help of mining mafia, was involved in this illegal practice, which made Swami Nigamanand to come out and protest.
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, while reacting to the godman’s demise, said, “Swami Nigamanand’s demise is a black day in the history of India. It is unfortunate that such an end should come for a sanyasi, who was fighting all his life for protecting the environment and the Ganges.”
“His struggle had gone unnoticed by media and hence had fewer sympathisers. When I had visited the hospital, it was already too late as he had slipped into a coma,” Sri Sri Ravishankar said.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said, “The government had ordered Ganga conservation. But the court ruled against it, which is why Nigamanand died.”
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare also expressed concern over Nigamanand’s death. The government should have spoken to him. People have a right to stage fasts in a democracy. This is not right,” Hazare said.
Meanwhile, Haridwar DM Meenakshi Sundram said a probe into the allegation made by Matri Sadan is on.
“We are waiting for the viscera report,” Sundram said, adding, the postmortem report has refuted the poison theory.