By Irena Akbar, Indian Express
As if overwhelmed by the sea of humanity and media frenzy that engulfed it during the week-long Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption agitation, Jantar Mantar, Delhi’s protest street, looks unusually calm on a Thursday. There are three protest stalls, all by Hazare wannabes clamouring for a corruption-free India, except that this time neither the media nor the public has bothered to stop by to listen. Or perhaps, it’s just that the harsh sun has got the better of protesters and their supporters.
Around noon, the silence at Jantar Mantar is disturbed by a cavalcade of 20 vehicles that includes SUVs, vans, a water tank, and a generator, all with posters that read, “Yamuna Bachao Padyatra”. Some 100-odd men and women dressed in dhotis and lehengas are part of this procession, the women dancing and singing bhajans in praise of Radha and Krishna. Kusum Sharma is part of this procession, singing into the mike and dancing, her lehenga obliging with neat twirls. The cavalcade comes to a halt. There is no podium, no stall, but this pavement abutting the Jantar Mantar has no marked out spaces, at least not on this unhurried sultry afternoon, so Sharma and the other protesters take out mats and bed sheets and spread themselves across the pavement. (more…)
Article from The Times of India
Hundreds of ‘sadhus’ from Braj Mandal, `bhakts’ of Lord Krishna, farmers, environmentalists and residents of Etawah participated in a `padyatra’ to save the Yamuna from pollution.
The march which started from Allahabad on March 3, covered Kaushambi, Fatehpur, Kanpur and Auraiyya to reached Etawah on Tuesday.
A dharna will be held at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on April 15 to highlight the issue.
Holding placards and banners, the `patyatris’ assembled on the banks of Yamuna in Etawah and sang `bhajans’ and `kirtans’ in order to gather support for the cause.
“Yamuna, considered as a pious in mythology, is now counted among the most polluted rivers in India,” said Bhanu Pratap Singh, president Bhartiya Kisan Union, Mathura. Delhi alone contributes around 3,296 mld (million litres per day) of sewage in the form of drains which fall into the river. Lakhs of people are living in the slums on the banks of Yamuna river, he said. Shortage of sewage treatment plants and lack of sanitation facilities in Delhi are responsible for polluting the Yamuna. The problem is further compounded by lack of minimum perennial fresh water flow in the river along the stretch starting from Wazirabad, Singh added.
By Brij Khandelwal, India News Post
A movement launched by the ascetics and Sri Krishna devotees of the Braj Mandal to save the Yamuna river from pollution is now gaining momentum. Hundreds of ascetics and activists have reached Sangam (confluence) at Allahabad from where a long march to New Delhi is to start Wednesday. Chief organisers Radha Krishan Shastri and Jai Krishan Das told IANS the march will reach the capital around April 15.
They said they will not withdraw till their demands are met and will talk only with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pratibha Patil or UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
For the next 45 days, river Yamuna will remain in the focus as the march moves towards New Delhi via smaller towns and villages. By the time it reaches Agra, the organisers hope it will gain sufficient momentum. This is the first time that the alarming pollution in the Yamuna has attracted so many people who look determined to set things right, said eco-activist Ravi Singh in Agra. (more…)