Shivani.Azad@timesgroup.com

Haridwar:

After fasting for almost 180 days (since October) for a clean and free-flowing Ganga, 26-year-old seer Atmabodhanand has now decided to quit drinking water as well. Atmabodhanand, who hails from Kerala, told TOI that he has lost all hope of a clean Ganga and was “not afraid of giving up my life for the cause of the holy river.”

The seer said he has written to the Prime Minister and secretary general of United Nations pointing out that even though seers were protesting for a clean Ganga, neither the Centre nor the state governments had paid any heed to their demand of a clean Ganga.

His 11-point letter reads, “Your unprecedented anti-Ganga mentalities have left before me no option but to follow the path of supreme sacrifice by leaving water intake from April 27.” The letter seeks cancellation of all existing and proposed dams on Ganga and its tributaries (Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Mandakini, Pindar and Dhauliganga).

He has also sought prohibition of mining and deforestation in Ganga flood plains (especially in Haridwar), formation of an autonomous Ganga Bhakt Council for decisions in the interest of the river and enactment of Ganga Act for conservation of the river.

The seer further said, “The government had promised late GD Agrawal ji that proposed hydro power projects will not be constructed and mining will also be stopped. But, if one visits Haridwar, they will witness a very different reality. Mining is taking place unabated, violating both Central Pollution Control Board and Namami Gange directions.”

He added that his decision to quit water was the strongest form of protest in which “I, too, would leave my body for saving Ganga just like Agrawal ji.”