Indian ascetic hunger strikes against sand mining

A Matri Sadan ascetic has fasted for 13 days in protest against illegal sand mining in northern India.

22 year-old Brahmachari Atmabodhanand continued to fast to protest peacefully against the destructive practice, Times of India reported.

"Damage to the river bed is huge, but we have received no reaction from any quarter,” Brahmachari Dayanand said.

“The state government refuses to answer questions the ashram has raised regarding illegal mining.”

"It is not surprising that the chief minister has issued a statement about starting mining in all state rivers at the same time when an ascetic is staking his life to get it completely banned," Dayanand remarked.

The Ashram Yoga in the area have been working against illegal mining in the area for 15 years, an effort against organised criminals.

Matri Sadan chief Swami Shivanand issued a public letter to the state government which alleged involvement of the administrative office with the mining mafia, and the government's violation of the Union ministry of environment and forest, Supreme Court and high court orders on mining.

Shivanand said officials were under pressure from the mining mafia, however the government have not responded to the allegations.

He also questioned the integrity of the state’s anti-mining cell.

"It imposes huge penalties only to drastically reduce it later to favour the mafia," he said.

A Matri Sadan ascetic died in 2011 after fasting for 114 days in protest against quarrying in the Ganges River.

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