Government of India Betrays Promise on Ganga

Swami Sanand Continues His Fast Unto Death under Police Custody in AIIMS

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Manushi friends will recall that Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand (Formerly Professor G D Aggarwal of IIT Kanpur) had broken his tapasya for saving Ganga involving going without food and water on March 23, 2012 on the assurance of two Central Government ministers who came as Prime Minister’s emissaries. They had given their solemn word that the Prime Minister would:

  • Call a meeting of National Ganga River Basin Authority ( NGRBA) on April 17 . Swami Sanand was to be a special invitee at that meeting to present his concerns for the sacred but dying river Ganga. Important decisions regarding ways and means to save Ganga were expected to be taken at that meeting
  • Order that work on all the four dams being built on Ganga and its tributaries be halted at least till the meeting of NGRBA.

Even at that time Swami Sanand did not withdraw his tapasya completely. He began taking liquid diet but kept away from solid food. He announced that he would resume regular food only if the April 17 meeting produced some positive results.

However, when inspection teams sent to the controversial dam sites revealed that till April 7 work had not stopped on any of the projects, Shankracharya designate, Swami Avimukteshwaranand ji phoned the PMO and expressed his disappointment at the callous disregard for prime ministerial promises. In addition, Swami Sanand wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on April 8 to say that if the government did not order work stoppage on at least three power projects, he would boycott the April 17 meeting of NGRBA called by the PM. In addition he would resume his nirjal tapasya from midnight of April 10. On April 8, the work on only one project at Pipalkoti was halted but work at all others continued unabated.

I quote from his letter to the PM:

“As of date we find that Govt of India has not fulfilled the confidence building assurance of getting all construction activity halted on at least 4 hydro-electric projects currently under construction in Alaknanda valley latest by midnight of March 25, 2012. My slackening Ganga Seva Tapasya on March 23 was only on the condition that these verbal assurances were fulfilled in letter and spirit. These assurances were basic condition to our participation in the NGRBA meeting besides the other formal conditions of invitation, agenda etc. recorded in the written agreement signed by the two Central Ministers on March 23.

Now we find that after several reminders and serious persuasion, construction activity was stopped only on one HE Project (the Vishnu Prayag-pipal koti project of THDC) that too only partially and as late as on April 7, 2012. This is too late and too little to be accepted as fulfillment of assurances given to us. There can hence be no question of our now waiting any more for the NGBRA meeting or of participating in it even if the formal conditions of invitation, agenda etc are complied to in the interrugnum leading to April 17.

The Ganga-Seva-Tapasya by our 3 Tapaswis has been continuing un-abated mean while. Bhikshuji is not accepting even water by mouth since March 23, and Krishna Priyanandji abandoned all food since March 23. Swami Sanand has also been taking only liquid diet since March 23 and will give up even taking water or liquids from April 10.

May prabhu Ram give some good sense to all concerned.

Sd Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand

True to his promise Swami Sanand began his nirjal tapasya on the midnight of April 10. This time he chose a famous shaktipeeth in South Delhi–the ancient Kalkajee Mandir.
However, on the third day of his tapasya, on April 13, when Swami Sanand’s condition began deteriorating, the Government sent the police to forcibly take Swami Sanand into custody and had him admitted in the All India Medical Institute (AIIMS). There, much against his wishes, he has been put on saline drip and confined to the Intensive Care Unit.

Today on April 13, several eminent persons came to visit Swami Sanand at AIIMS. But they were all turned away by the hospital administration. It appears that the government has put him under arrest without warrants, without acknowledging that he is under police custody while in hospital. Why else would he be denied contact with his supporters and the world outside? Why else would he be admitted to ICU and not in a regular room? The only “treatment” being given to him is a saline drip which can easily be given in a private room of the hospital.

It may be recalled that Swami Sanand began the first phase of his tapasya on January 14 by living on a a fruit diet for one month. It was meant to serve notice to the government that if the Prime Minister did not honour his promise regarding steps required to save the dying Ganga, he would abjure food after one month. From February 14 onward he took only ganga water. On March 9 he gave up even water as announced at the outset. Within days of his nirjal fast, he was forcibly admitted in a hospital in Varanasi. Soon after he was airlifted to Delhi’s AIIMS because doctors in Varansai found his condition to be very precarious. He refused to be force fed but was forcibly put on drip. On April 23rd two ministers came to AIIMS as PM’s emissaries and asked him to give up his fast with the promise that in the April 17 meeting important decisions regarding ways to save Ganga would be taken. Swami Sanad agreed on condition that the ongoing work at the power projects would be halted in the meantime.

In a statement on April 13, Swami Avimukteshwaranad has demanded that Swami Sanand be released from illegal police custody and shifted from ICU to a private room. He has also appealed to the Prime Minister to honour his promises by halting work on all the under construction projects on Ganga so that Swami Sanand can participate in the deliberations of the NGRBA in an honorable way.

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