Fast Over Dirty Ganges Ends With Activist's Death

G.D. Agarwal began his fast in June
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2018 3:53 PM CDT
An Indian man washes his clothes in the Ganges River.   (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)

(Newser) – An 86-year-old Indian activist died Thursday during a hunger strike to protest pollution in the Ganges River, Reuters reports. G.D. Agarwal was more than 15 weeks into a fast that he began on June 22. He was demanding a law to protect the Ganges—India's largest waterway, sacred to Hindus, which is filthy with domestic and industrial waste—as well as the discontinuing of construction of hydroelectrical projects. Another activist tells Reuters that Agarwal's death "has shut one of the leading voices of criticism of the government on the Ganga pollution."

The day before he died, Agarwal was forcibly taken to the hospital after refusing to drink water. Officers reportedly picked him up in the chair he was sitting in as he kicked his legs in protest. He later died of cardiac arrest, per Reuters. Another activist, 36-year-old Sant Gopaldas, was hospitalized Saturday after starting a hunger strike on June 24, NDTV reports. Gopaldas was protesting mining operations along the Ganges. Authorities have reportedly given hospital staff the OK to force-feed him. (Read more Ganges River stories.)

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