Govt steers clear of Swami's funeral row

Even as Prabhas Chandra Jha, father ofSwami Nigamanand of Hardwar who died after over two months of fast, wants to claim his son's body for his last rites, Nitish government has washed its hands off the issue. 

The Swami, who was born at Ladari village under Kewati block in Darbhanga district, died recently while on fast for saving Ganga from pollution. 

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said on Thursday that the state government had nothing to do with the body of Swami Nigamanand. "He had become a Swami. Now it is a matter between the ashram to which he belonged, the Uttarakhand governmentand his family," Modi said. 

He added the state government was not in a position to "force" the Uttarakhand government to take a particular decision with regard to the claim on the body of the departed Swami. 

He also said it would be wrong to say that BJP did not show any interest in Swami Nigamanand, when he was under treatment in the same hospital as yoga guru Baba Ramdev. According to him, former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Uma Bharti had called on Swami a day before he died. "She was with him for two hours on the day," Modi said. 

However, the Bihar connection of Swami Nigamanand has attracted the attention of a senior BJP leader, Vinod Narayan Jha, MLA from Benipatti in Madhubani district. He, on Thursday, submitted a memorandum to Modi containing his demands, when the latter was hearing grievances of the state BJP workers at the party's state headquarters. 

Jha has demanded that the body of Swami be brought to Bihar from Hardwar for his last rites. Stating that the cause that Swami pursued was a national cause, he also demanded that Swami be honoured, since Bihar was in the year of its centenary celebration. The best honour for him would be installation of his statue at the bank of Ganga in Bihar, since it would be an inspiration for all those interested in the cleaning of the river.


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