Trouble for Gehlot? Sadhu’s self-immolation stirs storm in Rajasthan over illegal mining

Baba Vijay Das had suffered 80 per cent burns after he set himself on fire on Wednesday to demand the closure of mines in the region the seers consider sacred land.

Published: 24th July 2022 08:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2022 08:59 AM   |  A+A-

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (Photo | PTI)

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (Photo | PTI)

JAIPUR: Baba Vijay Das, a sadhu who had attempted self-immolation in Deeg town of Bharatpur district in protest against mining in the area, died on Saturday at a hospital in New Delhi.

Das had suffered 80 per cent burns after he set himself on fire on Wednesday to demand the closure of mines in the region the seers consider sacred land.

Das’ death has sparked a political controversy, both outside and within the ruling Congress. BJP president JP Nadda has formed a committee to probe mining and the death of Das.

Congress MLA Bharat Singh has also written to CM Ashok Gehlot demanding the removal of Mines Minister Pramod Bhaya, accusing him of shielding illegal mining.

Gehlot on Saturday announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of Das.

He also ordered to get the matter investigated by a senior administrative officer.

"The demise of Sant Shri Vijay Baba is very sad. We made every effort to save him and provided him with better medical facilities," Gehlot said in a tweet.

He further said, "I am sad that when the government had given its in-principle consent to the demands of the seers, under what circumstances did he take this unfortunate step."

The chief minister said it has been decided to get this incident investigated by an officer of the rank of principal secretary to the government.

Also, an assistance amount of Rs 5 lakh will be given to the family members of Vijay Baba from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

Earlier, opposition BJP leaders including Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, BJP state president Satish Poonia and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal blamed the state government for the death of the seer and demanded probe into the matter.

The leaders also targeted the Congress government in Rajasthan over its "inability to curb illegal mining activities" in the state.

Former CM Vasundhara Raje said if saints have to agitate and sacrifice themselves to get their demands heard, then it shows the anarchy which prevails in the state.

“If the state government had not taken 551 days to listen to the saints and had taken action in time, then the saint would not have died today,” she said.

Meanwhile, Nadda has formed a committee comprising BJP state in-charge Arun Singh, MPs Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati, and  Satyapal Singh, and former UP DGP and MP Brijlal Yadav, who will visit the spot and submit a report.

Condemnation also arose from within Congress, with Bharat Singh describing Bhaya as a mining mafia.  Bhaya dismissed the allegations, saying, “The work done against illegal mining during my tenure was not done earlier.”

(With PTI Inputs)


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