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Clean Ganga Activist From GD Agarwal's Ashram Goes Missing During Fast, Mother Starts Her Own Fast

Das was picked up from Matri Sadan by the Uttarakhand police and taken to Government Doon Medical College (GDMC) on December 4. His colleagues fear that he has been murdered.

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Updated:December 15, 2018, 3:31 PM IST
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Clean Ganga Activist From GD Agarwal's Ashram Goes Missing During Fast, Mother Starts Her Own Fast
File photo of Gopal Das.
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New Delhi: The mother of Gopal Das, a Rishikesh-based hermit who went missing after launching his fast-unto-death against hydropower projects in Ganga around a week ago, has embarked on her own fast - in a bid to track her son.

“My son had undertaken a fast for the welfare of the Ganga. Now I will continue it. We want the government to find out where he’s gone and bring into law the Ganga Act,” said Das’ 60-year-old mother Shakuntala Devi.

Incidentally, Gopal Das also lived in Matri Sadan — the same ashram whose resident was GD Agarwal, the environmentalist who died on the 112th day of his indefinite fast to save Ganga.

Das was picked up from Matri Sadan by the Uttarakhand police and taken to Government Doon Medical College (GDMC) on December 4. His colleagues fear that he has been murdered. “We suspect that he’s been killed because there’s no other motive for his disappearance,” Swami Shivanand, head of Matri Sadan, told a media outlet.

Sources say Das was last spotted in the CCTV camera leaving the premises of the medical college on December 6.

Matri Sadan has been witness to fasts by a number of hermits, most notably environmentalist G D Agrawal, also a former professor of engineering and a Hindu ascetic, who began an indefinite fast on June 22 and eventually died on October 11.

Following Agrawal’s fast and just days before his death, the government promulgated an ‘e-flow notification,’ on October 9 which requires hydropower projects upstream of the river to release sufficient water to ensure that a minimum flow is maintained through the year.

Haridwar District Magistrate Deepak Rawat was not available for a comment.

The Ganga Act, which is now being mooted by the government to ensure that the river isn’t polluted, is the common thread linking all those fasting at Matri Sadan to protest against the hydropower projects on the Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Mandakini and Pindar rivers.

All these rivers feed into the Ganga and several environmentalists have said that the dams, necessitated by these projects, impede the natural flow of the river.


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