Varanasi: A saint, who claimed to be 'Peethadheeshwar' (head) of Kashi Mahashamsan Peeth and was on fast for over a month seeking clean and uninterrupted flow of water in the Ganga river, passed away early this morning at a hospital here.
Nagnath Yogeshwar, had earlier claimed that he had observed fast for 1,000 days starting July 19, 2008 for the sake of a clean Ganga. He had broken the fast on intervention of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav in 2011.
Yogeshwar was demanding 'aviral-nirmal' (continuous and uninterrupted) flow of the river from Gangotri to Ganga Sagar. He was "forcibly" admitted by the district administration at a government hospital here due to his deteriorating health condition as he was on fast, claimed Vikas Chandra, a relative.
Yesterday, after the saint's health worsened, he was referred to Benaras Hindu University's Sir Sunder Lal hospital and at 1.45 AM today, where he breathed his last. Yogeshwar was demanding that all sorts of hurdles, interrupting free flow of the river water, should be removed and the sacred river be saved from pollution. He also protested against the construction of dams on the river for hydro-projects in Uttarakhand and demanded to abolish the Tehri Dam. His last rites were performed at Manikarnika ghat today and several local leaders, including Congress MLA Ajai Rai were present at the occasion.
Famous seer of Uttarakhand, Swamy Nigmanand, also passed away in 2011 after 115 days of fasting as part of his protest against illegal mining on the bank of the Ganga river in Haridwar. The current NDA dispensation has promised several measures to clean the river, which is revered in India.