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Crusader kin fret over body

Darbhanga, June 15: Swami Nigamanand’s parents, who are likely to reach Haridwar today, expressed concern on how to bring their son’s body here.

Nigamanand, a social activist, died after a four-month-long fast to highlight corruption and rising pollution in the Ganga, doctors said on Wednesday.

Nigamanand, who began his crusade on February 19, died on Monday in a Dehradun hospital where he was being treated since early May for complications arising from his fast.

The activist’s parents believe that they might have to run from pillar to post in quest of the body of Nigamanand. Now, they are seeking help of the local administration so that Nigamanand’s body could be brought to Ladari village under Keoti police station in Darbhanga, his native place.

Nigamanand’s uncle Subhash Chandra Jha told The Telegraph over the phone from Haridwar that they were trying to get the body. He said his nephew was allegedly in coma for around 40 days and even his family was not informed about his health. Jha blamed Swami Shivanand Saraswati, who had deliberately made Nigamanand his disciple. “He was not allowed to see his parents for years,” Jha said.

On October 28, 1995, Swaroopam Kumar Girish alias Swami Nigamanand left his house at the age of 18 in “search of truth”. He just left a letter for his parents. He did not divulge where he was going but after three years, his parents came to know that Nigamanand was living at Matri Sadan Ashram in Haridwar, run by Swami Shivanand Saraswati, a native of Darbhanga.

Prakash Kumar Jha, Nigamanand’s father, was an engineer in the department of irrigation in Jharkhand. “Prakash tried several times to bring his son back but he failed miserably,” Nigamanand’s aunt Rekha Jha said.

Sources said Nigamanand was a bright student and had completed primary education at Holy Cross Public School and secondary education from Sarvodaya High School. Nigamanand met Saraswati, who influenced him and made his disciple. Nirbhay Bhardwaj, a yoga teacher in Haridwar, said he saw Nigamanand and Saraswati in 2006 to 2008 at the ashram. He said all the disciples of Saraswati were different from other yogis. “They campaigned against pollution. First, their aim was to take up the cause of Ganga, then air pollution and finally illegal mining,” Bhardwaj said.

He added Nigamanand was the second heir of the Matri Sadan Ashram after Saraswati.

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