A day after district officials and police tried to force feed Matri Sadan head Swami Shivanand, who has been on an indefinite fast since May 24 against resumption of mining in the Ganga, the ashram on Wednesday filed a case of attempt to murder against chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, district magistrate (DM) of Haridwar Deepak Rawat and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Haridwar Manish Kumar. According to the complaint filed, a district administration team had on Sunday tried to force Swami to call off his protest, which could have led to his death. The seer had given up taking water on Friday and had gone into maun (silence) to protest since Saturday.
Meanwhile, mining minister Prakash Pant said that the state government will not let Swami to commit suicide. Pant also stressed that no mining but manual collection of minerals is taking place in the river. Bitter clashes between sages and police and administration had taken place on Sunday evening which went on till morning.
Brahmchari Dayanand, spokesperson of Matri Sadan, said, “The police, following orders of SDM Kumar, broke the lock of the ashram’s gate to gain entry into the premises on Sunday evening. They also roughed up several ashram inmates. They also tried to cut the grill surrounding the Swami’s room using an electric cutter. It was a well-thought out conspiracy against Swami and for this we have filed a case of attempt to murder against the CM and DM and SDM of Haridwar.”
The Matri Sadan has been protesting against mining being resumed in the Ganga allegedly in violation of the orders of the Nainital high court and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). On May 14, a day after mining activities were resumed, Atmabodhanand, Shivanand’s disciple went on fast protesting against what the ashram called “a contempt of court.” As the administration did nothing to fulfill the ashram’s demands, Atmabodhanand ended his fast on May 23 and Shivanand took the baton from him on May 24. Shivanand who had been on fast since May 24, had given up taking water on Friday and had gone into maun (silence) to protest since Saturday.