Yogi government's action to run bulldozers in Haridwar sparks outrage among Akhara saints

Bairagi saints in Haridwar hreatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike if the reconstruction is not done by February 13. 

Published: 04th February 2023 01:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2023 01:09 AM   |  A+A-

Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (Photo | ANI)

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Bairagi saints in Haridwar on Thursday condemned the demolition of their huts by the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department on the pretext of removing encroachments and threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike if the reconstruction is not done by February 13. In the meeting held at Haridwar Nirmohi Akhara, the saints living in Bairagi Camp area also demanded the Uttar Pradesh
government take action against the officials concerned. The saints also threatened to file a contempt of court case against the officials.

Addressing a large number of saints, Mahant Baba Balram Das Hathyogi of Digambar Akhara said, "Bairagi Camp land is Kumbh mela land reserved for Bairagi Akharas where all the three Bairagi Akharas - Shri Panch Nirmahi Ani Akhara, Shri Panch Nirvani Ani Akhara and Shri Panch Digambar Ani Akhara- are held. But the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department repeatedly harassed saints in the name of encroachment which will not be accepted".

Haridwar District Magistrate Vinay Shankar Pandey told The New Indian Express, "The matter is completely related to the Uttar Pradesh government. Since the property is located in Uttarakhand, we provide them police assistance at the same time when help is sought from Uttarakhand in terms of law and order".

Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department SDO ShivKumar Kaushik told this newspaper, "UP owns 1500 hectares of land in Uttarakhand. 700 hectares of land is transferred to Uttarakhand during each Kumbh Mela, which is automatically transferred to Uttar Pradesh after the completion of the mela". "After the Kumbh Mela ended in 2021, there are some illegal occupants still present on it, who are being duly removed", added SDO Kaushik.

"On a PIL filed in the Uttarakhand High Court by Congress leader Dharamveer Saini regarding encroachment at Bairagi camp, the irrigation department had prepared a list of 658 families which were to be removed in the name of illegal encroachment," local councillor Sachin Agarwal said. "These three akharas are among the 658 families against which the saints had appealed in the high court. He got a stay order from the court, a copy of which was also made available to the Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh several days ago.

Mahant Vishnu Das Maharaj of Nirmohi Akhara said, "It is not yet decided whether this land belongs to the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department or the Uttarakhand Irrigation Department, but the UP officials are harassing the saints". He also alleged, "Hundreds of illegal permanent constructions in bairagi camp are not being removed and only Bairagi Akharas are being targeted".


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