The founder of Matri Sadan, a socio-religious organisation campaigning to save the environment, has accused the Haridwar administration of conniving with the sand mining mafia to inflict "mental torture" on 82-year-old activist Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand who was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Aiims) on Thursday on the 50th day of his fast-unto-death.
Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, a member of the forum 'IITians for Holy Ganga' had launched the fast demanding a ban on all hydro power projects on the Ganga and its tributaries in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
Matri Sadan seer Swami Shivanand, however, did not elaborate on his allegation linking the Haridwar administration with the sand mafia, which has also been accused of influencing the Uttar Pradesh government to remove IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal who had clamped down on its illegal activities.
Coming down heavily on the administration, Swami Shivanand said that he was contemplating legal action against officials for hatching a "conspiracy to kill Sanand, a former IIT professor whose original name is GD Aggarwal.
He questioned the administration's action which, he claimed, was based on a medical note dated July 2.
"The proceedings against him came one full month after that report which clearly shows that the administration is not actually concerned about his health. It was the outcome of a handshake between the administration and sand mining mafia," alleged the seer.
Shivanand has blamed MP for Haridwar constituency Harish Rawat, district magistrate Nidhi Pandey and SSP Rajeev Swaroop for forcibly removing the fasting activist.
Shivanand said that the ailing activist was admitted to Aiims only on Friday morning as police and administration officials took almost 24 hours for completing the formalities - he was made to sit in the local police station for four hours where a case was registered against him under Section 309 of IPC and then even lodged in jail for a few hours.
"After mental and physical harassment for 24 hours, Sanand was admitted to Aiims at 6am on Friday," Swami Shivanand told HT.
This was the fifth time that the former IIT alumni had launched a fast-unto-death, the previous ones being in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Swami Shivanand questioned why the activist, who was picked up from his fasting site at the Matri Sadan premises in Haridwar, was not taken by air to Delhi if his "deteriorating health" had become a matter of worry for the administration.
SSP Rajeev Swaroop, however, denied the allegations saying that "every step has been taken in honour of the decision of the court. On health grounds, Swami Sanand was lifted from his fasting site. Our officials had persuaded him to call off his agitation since his health was deteriorating but he did not listen to them. Being a part of responsible administration, we took this step."
When asked why he was not air-lifted and was made to travel by road, the police officer added, "We followed normal course of action. He was produced before court under protection of police force."