Thousands of members of the Vaishnav sect in Gujarat will be going to Vrindavan village in Mathura district of UP to take part in a march to New Delhi to raise their voice against the growing pollution of river Yamuna. For members of the sect, the Yamuna is particularly holy because of its association with Lord Krishna.

Save yamuna

The marchers will set off for New Delhi from Vrindavan on March 1. The number of Vaishnavites from Gujarat visiting Mathura on a pilgrimage every year is among the highest in the country. The devotees would be marching on foot from Vrindavan to New Delhi to draw the attention of the government to the growing pollution of the river. They will be demanding immediate action to save the Yamuna which has become filthy because of pollution and is drying up.

Vaishnavites and devotees of other Hindu denominations based in Gujarat, Mumbai, Mathura and elsewhere in the country have formed Yamuna Rakshak Dal (YRD), a platform dedicated to restoring the Yamuna to its pristine purity.

The YRD expects around 5 lakh people to take part in the march. On February 8, it had organized a public meeting in Surat to make people aware about the threat to the holy river and had also started a ‘mobile missed call and online petition’ campaign. A delegation of the YRDrecently met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in New Delhi in this connenction.

The March begins fittingly enough on March 1st. Go to http://www.saveyamuna.org/ for details and to join global kirtans in support of the 500,000 marching! Join the FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/165087506973455/

You can also give the missed call to number 08067730005 in support of Yamuna Protection campaign.

“This is not only a religious and cultural problem but also a social one as people are falling ill because of the pollution of the river. Crops in the region are at risk. The water of the Yamuna has become so contaminated that it is not fit for drinking even by animals,” said Pankaj Bawaji Goswami, Mukhya Rashtriya Sanrakshak of YRD Gokul.

“We met Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav to express our concern about the growing pollution of the Yamuna. Yadav assured us that he would raise the issue during the budget session of parliament,” said Goswami.

He further said that the Yamuna water that flows through Braj region — the area around Mathura that is closely associated with Lord Krishna — is full of sewage, and discharge of waste from slaughterhouses. “It is impossible to filter the water and consume it. The business of a packaged mineral water in the entire region is booming mainly because the local water is not drinkable,” Goswami said.

He further said that the problem is not so much religious as a social one.

“Pollution of the Yamuna affects the entire region. More than 10,000 Muslims and Christians living in Mathura will also join the march. We had held a protest programme at Jantar Mantar in Delhi about one-and-half-years back. After that, the government set up a commission to look into the issue,” Goswami said.

According to Praful Soni, a local YRD activist, the problem began eight years back when Hathini Kund dam was built in Haryana.

“The state diverted 90 percent of the dam water. More than 140 kilometer stretch of the river that flows through Braj region in Mathura dried up. Now people have made roads on that stretch and drive vehicles on it,” Soni said.

“Earlier, holy water from the Yamuna was offered to Lord Krishna in the thousands of temples that exist in the region. That is not possible now. Even the pilgrimage spot called Shrinathji in Nathdwara (also associated with Lord Krishna) has stopped bringing Yamuna water from Mathura,” Soni added.

Kunjesh Kumarji, a young acharya of the Vaishnav sect based in Kadi, said that they had conducted an awareness programme at Vallabh Sadan temple on Ashram road.

“We want clean and pure water to flow in the Yamuna as it did five years back. All Vaishnavs and saints of the sect will go to Vrindavan and Delhi in trains before March 1 for the foot-march,” said Kunjesh Kumarji, young acharya of the Vaishnav sect, based in Kadi.

Madhav Fichadiya of Yamunaji Charitable Trust, Rajkot, said that devotees from more than 100 temples of the Vaishnav sect and gurus of the Hindu religion will participate in the foot-march to Delhi.

“We have conducted an awareness drive in Rajkot. We recently organized a function to inform people about the real threat to river Yamuna which is holy to the Vaishnavs,” he said.

Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Mathura, Gokul and Vrindavan comprise what is popularly known as Brajbhoomi and is the most sacred pilgrimage of Vishnavites. The issue has been raised time again for the last three years and a petition in this connection has also been filed in the Supreme Court.

Source: DNA India

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