Save Ganga Activist G D Agarwal Dies In Rishikesh On 112th Day Of A Hunger Strike

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New Delhi: A former Indian Institute of Technoloy (IIT) professor, environmental activist and rationalist G D Agarwal popularly known as Swami Gyanswarup Sanand died in a Rishikesh hospital on the 112th day of a hunger strike demanding a law to save the Ganga, scrapping of hydropower projects on the river, and free flow of its waters.

Agarwal, who was 86, was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Rishikesh, by the administration of neighbouring Haridwar in Uttarakhand, a day after he stopped drinking even water. He had been accepting water with honey during the duration of his hunger strike, which he started on June 22.

“The seer is dead. On October 9 he declared (his intention) to quit water, following which the next day we admitted him at AIIMS on Wednesday afternoon,” said Deepak Rawat, district magistrate (DM) of Haridwar. Dr Ravi Kant, the director of AIIMS, Rishikesh, said Agarwal died of cardiac arrest coupled with arrhythmia at around 2pm. “His potassium levels were low and his blood pressure was high,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the demise of the activist. “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,” he tweeted.

The Centre, in a reaction to his death, 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 ensure environmental flow and we have come out with a notification.”

Agarwal was a professor at the IIT-Kanpur, and also served as a member-secretary of the anti-pollution watchdog the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

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