Anna Hazare meets ailing save Ganga activist



New Delhi: Adding another issue to his agenda, Anna Hazare on Monday rose in support of a movement to save the Ganga by visiting activist GD Aggarwal who was flown here for treatment after his health deteriorated during a hunger strike in Varanasi to save the river.

Hazare visited Aggarwal at the AIIMS where the 80-year-old environment scientist-turned saint was airlifted this morning from Varanasi where he was undergoing treatment following his hunger strike to save the river.

Pledging support to Aggarwal in his fight to save the holy river, Hazare held the government responsible for the deteriorating health of the activist also known as Swami Gyan Swaroopanand.

Aggarwal, a former IIT professor, was spearheading a movement to save the Ganga and was on an indefinite hunger strike since January 15. His aides said he stopped taking even water from March nine.

He has been demanding convening the meeting of the Prime Minister-headed National River Ganga Basin Authority. Waterman Rajinder Singh and two others had resigned in protest against the government not convening the Authority.

"The Prime Minister-headed authority has met only twice in the past three years. As the administrative head, he is responsible," Hazare said.

Asked whether he supports Aggarwal, 74-year-old Hazare answered in the affirmative. "I will support him. He is fighting for the holy river," he said.

Hazare's close aide Arvind Kejriwal wrote a series of tweets this morning urging the media to take up the case of Aggarwal.

"No worthwhile efforts made by central govt in last one month to discuss with him. How can our government become so insensitive? Allow such senior scientists to die?" he said.

Kejriwal said Aggarwal's demand was meetings of Ganga Basin Authority. "Pranab Mukherjee wrote a letter to G D Aggarwal on 23rd Aug 2010 assuring that Authority would meet soon," he said.

"He (Aggarwal) was only on water for a month. Gave up water also last week. Hospitalized and put on drip. He has removed drip also since yesterday.

This was Aggarwal's third fast in last three years and "the central government has gone back on all promises made to him during last fast," he said.

PTI