photo: Edson Walker/Creative Commons
As soon as word broke that fasting Ganga activist Swami Nigamananda had died after 115 days without food, one of his aides claimed foul play. According to Times of India Dr Vijay Varma claims that Swami suffered a heart attack after being injected with some poison by hospital staff, working in collusion with the polluters Nigamananda had been protesting.
An autopsy will be conducted, but other aides of Nigamananda allege that the local authorities are dragging their feet in arresting the doctor and member of the stone-crushing association accused of misconduct.Though sand mining and quarrying along the Ganga in the state of Uttarakhand has been banned since December 2010, the local stone crushers' association achieved a stay on the order until the last week of May. Indian environment minister says unfortunately that "illegal mining is rampant in Uttarakhand [and] enjoys political patronage in the highest levels."Being An Environmental Activist Can Be Hazardous To Your Health
Some global context: The death (or killing?) of Swami Nigamanda comes as killings of environmental activists trying to stop deforestation in the Amazon are on the rise. As WWF and BBC News report in the past month there have been six murders of people trying to stop illegal land clearance.