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IIT Professor-turned-Clean Ganga Activist GD Agarwal Dies After Fasting for 111 Days

On Wednesday Sanand was forcibly shifted to the AIIMS hospital from his Matri Sadan ashram after his health deteriorated significantly.

Anupam Trivedi | News18

Updated:October 11, 2018, 10:36 PM IST
IIT Professor-turned-Clean Ganga Activist GD Agarwal Dies After Fasting for 111 Days
Environmentalist GD Agarwal, who was on fast unto death for a clean River Ganga, being forcibly taken to the hospital after his health deteriorated in Haridwar on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

Dehradun: Veteran environmental activist Prof GD Agarwal alias Swami Gyanswarup Sanand, who was fasting for the past 111 days demanding a clean Ganga, died in Haridwar on Thursday. He was 87.

On Wednesday, he was forcibly shifted to the AIIMS hospital from his Matri Sadan ashram after his health deteriorated significantly after he stopped drinking water.

Official sources revealed to News18 that the fasting seer died around 1 pm on Thursday. Agarwal started his fast on June 22 and died of a heart attack in Rishikesh.

In his last hand written press release, Sanand said that the level of potassium in his blood was alarmingly low. AIIMS director Dr Ravi Kant said Agarwal suffered from hernia, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and the fast worsened his condition. “I have accepted potassium orally administrated to me (at AIIMS),” Sanand mentioned in the note.

Local authorities imposed section 144 of the CrPC, which bans the assembly of people, around the venue of the protest and he was picked up and taken to hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the demise and tweeted, "Saddened by the demise of Shri GD Agarwal Ji. His passion towards learning, education, saving the environment, particularly Ganga cleaning will always be remembered. My condolences."

Reacting to the death, the Centre said that almost all the demands made by Agarwal had been accepted. Water Resources and Ganga River Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, "We have accepted almost all his demands (on cleaning of the Ganga). One demand was to to ensure environmental flow and we have come out with a notification."

Agarwal was a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur and also served on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The former IIT professor was agitating since June this year demanding that Ganga river should flow ‘undisrupted’ and that all ongoing hydro power projects on the Ganga basin should be stopped. He has also been demanding enactment of the Ganga Protection and Management Act.

Swami Sanand was also a member of National River Ganga Basin Authority during the UPA tenure. In 2010, he fasted for 38 days seeking scrapping of 600 MW Lohari Nagpala project on Bhagirathi River as it “hampers” free flow of water. Later, a three-member group of ministers scrapped the project.

This is the second death of a fasting seer demanding uninterrupted flow of Ganga. In 2011, Swami Nigamanand (36) of Matri Sadan died after fasting for more than 2 months, seeking a ban on illegal mining in Ganga river.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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