Haridwar/Dehradun, Jun 16: Amid allegations that Swami Nigamanand was poisoned, authorities today took fresh sample for a second viscera test of the seer who died after a four-month fast against quarrying in Ganga river bed.
A panel of doctors took a second viscera sample of Nigamanand at Matri Sadan ashram where his body was kept following a direction by Haridwar District Magistrate R Meenakshisundaram. The founder head of the ashram and his guru Swami Shivanand had given a written request to the district administration in this regard, officials said. Uttarakhand Government had yesterday recommended a CBI probe into the circumstances of Nigamanand's death. Shivanand had alleged that the 36-year-old seer died of poisoning after he was administered a lethal injection at the behest of quarrying mafia.
With a fresh sample being taken, Nigamanand was given a “bhu samadhi” (religious burial) at the ashram premises in Haridwar in the presence of several leaders from both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress, besides sadhus.
“Swami Nigamanand has been given ‘bhu samadhi' as per the traditions of Matri Sadan,” said Meenakashisundaram.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat, Congress MLA Kishor Upadhyay, state Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik and heads of several religious ashrams were among those present.
Earlier, family members of Nigamanand, who reached the ashram, sought custody of the body for the last rites and threatened to undertake an indefinite hunger strike but were turned down by the ashram authorities, prompting the district administration to intervene.
Meenakshisundaram decided in favour of ashram giving it the right to give burial to the seer after taking legal opinion and holding discussion with the sadhus of the ashram as well as his family members.
The family members, who wanted to take the body to their native place in Darbhanga district of Bihar, accepted the decision taken by the administration.
Meanwhile, Nigamanand's elder brother Satyam Kumar Ashish alleged that the seer had told him there was pressure on him from his guru to undertake a fast and continue it even when he was not in the condition to do so.
“Nobody is helping us.... We were allowed to see the body for not more that 10 minutes. We are helpless,” he said while threatening to go on a hunger strike.
Earlier, the District Magistrate had made it clear that there would be no second post mortem and that viscera samples were sufficient, officials said.
Uttarakhand Minister Madan Kaushik had yesterday said that the government is ready for a fresh viscera test if the ashram and his family members are not satisfied. The post mortem report of Nigamanand had stated coma, septicaemia and degenerative brain disorder as the cause of death.
The death of Nigamanand on June 13 has sparked intense criticism of the BJP government with opposition Congress today demanding resignation of Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank alleging that the seer could not be saved due to negligence of the state government.
“The death of Nigamanand due to lack of proper medical care clearly shows that the BJP government has completely failed to discharge its duty,” spokesman of Uttarakhand Congress Legislature Party Kishore Upadhyay said.
“Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank should immediately resign from the post,” he said.
The Congress alleged that proper medical care was not provided to Nigamanand as the state government is under pressure from quarrying mafia.
Upadhyaya claimed that he and Union Minister Harish Rawat had written a letter to Chief Minister that Nigamanand should be shifted to AIIMS in New Delhi but no attention was given to their concerns. PTI