Sadhu fasting for saving Ganga in critical condition

published on June 30, 2011

Barely a fortnight after the death of Haridwar-based Swami Nigamananda after fasting for about four months in protest against illegal quarrying work on the banks of the holy river Ganga, yet another sadhu at the ancient Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, stares at a similar fate.

Baba Nagnath, the Peethadheeshwar (chief) of the Mahashmashana Naath Peeth, who started his fast-unto-death on July 19, 2008 to save the Ganga from pollution, has been admitted to the Banaras Hindu University medical college hospital after his condition deteriorated  on Wednesday.

“Baba Nagnath is suffering from severe de-hydration and and is having respiratory problems,” doctors at the Shiv Prasad Gupta hospital, where he was earlier admitted, said.

Nagnath’s demands include ensuring free flow of the river water from Gaumukh,  the origin of the river, to Gangasagar, where it meets the ocean.

The  flow of river has been disrupted after the construction of Tehri dam. Earlier, the sadhu  had been forcibly taken to a government hospital in Varanasi on the 241st day of his fast, yet he continued his protest.

Of late, the one-man initiative has evoked widespread support in the holy city with several organisations rallying behind him, urging the Centre and the state government to meet his demands forthwith. Despite spending a huge amount of money under the much-hyped Ganga Action Plan, the river continued to be highly polluted. Water samples taken from the river in Varanasi have shown presence of alarming level of faecal-coliform.

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