Religio-environmentalists of the Braj region are planning to assemble on the banks of the Yamuna in Hathnikund, 200km north of Delhi, for the cause of the ‘lost river’ on the occasion of Yamuna Jayanti on Wednesday.
There will also be silent demonstrations at various locations in Delhi to draw the attention of the authorities to the plight of the river.
Braj, whose area is approximately 3,800 sq km, lies along the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh and comprises important pilgrimages such as Vrindavan, Barsana, Nandgaon, Govardhan and Kosi, all associated with Lord Krishna. Approximately 40 million pilgrims visit these places annually.
“The Yamuna is an integral part of Braj and its culture. Brajwasis want to see for themselves how their river has gone missing,” said Ravi Monga, who belongs to a hermitage in Barsana, near Mathura.
Immediately downstream of the Wazirabad barrage, sewer drains empty into the Yamuna, turning it into a drain for a large part of the year.
The official statistics show Delhi has only 2% of the length of the Yamuna but contributes to 90% of its pollution.
The Yamuna Jayanti is on the sixth day of the waxing phase of the moon of the Indian month of Chaitra (mid-March to mid-April). After celebrations in Vrindavan, the devotees will reach Hathnikund near Yamunanagar in Haryana, Monga said.
They will perform puja and other rituals at the Hathnikund barrage and reach Delhi by Thursday to stage silent protests at ISBT, ITO, Nizamuddin and DND bridges.
“Shall this be a wake-up call for the relevant authorities? Let no one remain in doubt … for the thunder may today be distant but it is approaching,” warned Manoj Mishra, convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.