New Delhi, October 11: Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of environmental activist GD Agarwal alias Swami Sanand, who died on Thursday - the 112th day of his fast unto death. The deceased scientist-cum-saint had launched an indefinite hunger strike on June 22, demanding the central government to stop all hydropower projects on river Ganga.
Among his other demands, included the enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act -- a legislation drafted by him to clean the holy river. Although the government had refrained from accepting Agarwal's demands during the course of his agitation, a statement was issued by Union Water Conservation Minister Nitin Gadkari shortly after his demise, claiming that "most demands have been accepted". GD Agarwal, 86-Year-Old Scientist on 'Fast Unto Death' Since June 22 to 'Save Ganga', Dies of Heart Attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to whom three letters were written by Agarwal in the past 112 days, paid tribute to Agarwal on twitter after his tragic demise. "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," Modi said.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 11, 2018
Notably, in the third and final letter to PM Modi by Agrawal during his hunger strike, he appealed the Prime Minister to respond to his demands at the earliest. "I have written a few letters to you in the past addressing matters related to Gangaji, but I have not received any response from you addressing them till now," he had said.
Agarwal, 86, had from Monday stopped consuming honey mixed with water -- "the only thing which had been consuming since June 22". On being warned by doctors that this could lead to his immediate demise, the activist had quipped, "Many people die unhappy. If I can't save Gangaji, I find no reason to live."
On Thursday, he breathed his last at AIIMS Rishikesh, where he was forcibly taken from his ashram in Haridwar after his health deteriorated. The cause of demise was stated to be heart attack.
Agarwal, an engineer from IIT Roorkee, had headed the engineering department of IIT Kanpur for 13 years. He was nominated as the first member of the Central Pollution Control Board by the UPA government. Agarwal was also appointed as the head of Ganga Basin Authority. However, he resigned from the posts in 2013, calling the two bodies as "toothless". He subsequently resorted to grassroot-level protests against the hydropower projects along the banks of north Indian rivers.