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Prayagraj, June 4 : The seers in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj have decided to launch an awareness campaign against burial of bodies along the river banks.
The campaign will be launched by the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex body of saints.
ABAP president Mahant Narendra Giri said, “The seers will travel across the length and breadth of the country, preaching to rural folk as well as poorly educated residents of cities, located on the banks of prominent rivers of the country, against burying their dead along the riverbanks. They will also motivate them to instead go for cremations using eco-friendly electric crematoriums.”
He further said, “We want to involve around 2.5 lakh seers who are members of the 13 akhara’s that forms ABAP and are spread across different parts of the country, in this nationwide mission which will protect not only river Ganga but all the sacred rivers of the nation from pollution, especially in light of the recent incidences where dead bodies were found floating in the rivers or the same was buried beside the banks of the river.”
The ABAP aims to bring down the burials by one third within a year and further cut it down to half in another six months.
ABAP plans to rope in seers and local religious leaders, who are revered and respected by locals, and these seers would preach and convince locals residing in cities and villages located along the rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Narmada and Kaveri, among others, to cremate their dead using electric crematoriums. This would not only protect these rivers but also save countless trees that are chopped to provide wood for traditional wooden pyre cremations.
ABAP General Secretary, Mahant Hari Giri, who is also chief patron of the Shri Panchdashnaam Juna Akhada, said, “Burying the dead on river banks should be stopped as this results in polluting our scared rivers as when the sand gets displaced with time due to water current or strong winds and these bodies get exposed or drift into the river”.
He suggested that even as saints strive to convince people to stop burying dead bodies on the river banks, efforts need to be also made to provide some land near villages to enable Hindus to bury their dead bodies as this too would help is stopping the practice of using riverbanks for this purpose.
The practice of burying dead bodies on riverbanks is an old tradition among many communities and sects of Hindus.
ABAP president Mahant Narendra Giri said that in cases of death owing to some specific reasons like snakebites or certain skin ailments and dead bodies of children are often immersed in the rivers.
“However, the threat of pollution due to these burials on river banks and immersion of bodies in rivers like the Ganga and Yamuna cannot be denied,” he said.
IANS / AGENCY