Ramdev’s Ganga mission brings VHP, Muslim clerics togetherSeptember 19th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS
Lucknow, Sep 19 (IANS) Yoga guru Ramdev has brought together Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists and Muslim clerics for a campaign to save the Ganga river from pollution.The “Save Ganga” campaign was launched Thursday by Ramdev at a meeting organised under the banner of the Ganga Raksha Manch in Kanpur.
At the event, Islamic cleric Qazi Qamar Shahjahanpuri and scholar Nawab Mir Jafar Abdullah shared the dais with VHP leaders Swami Chinmayanand and Sadhvi Rithambara.
“We wish to urge the prime minister to declare Ganga a national heritage and to make pollution of the holy river a cognisable offence,” Ramdev said.
Abdullah compared the holiness of the Ganga water with “Ab-e-zam-zam” - the holy Mecca water, while the Qazi recited excerpts from the Quran to highlight the importance of pure water of which he termed Ganga as the biggest source in the country.
A delegation of Hindu and Muslim leaders, headed by Ramdev, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Saturday.
They also want his help to spike the Uttar Pradesh government’s ambitious plan to build a 1,000 km Ganga Expressway connecting the state’s eastern tip to the national capital.
“A delegation of holy men, clerics and scholars led by Baba Ramdev will meet Manmohan Singh, whose help has been sought to give concrete strength to our mission to clean the Ganga,” one of Ramdev’s aides told IANS over telephone from Kanpur.
“The much publicised Ganga Expressway would not only affect the sanctity of the river but also lead to the displacement of at least 6,000 families,” Chinmayanand said at the launch of the campign.
According to official figures, the river receives about 5,044 million litres a day (MLD) of sewage.
Only about 1,095 MLD passes through sewage treatment plants (STPs) at different places, with the result that the bulk of the pollutants remain untreated.