Hindustan Times (Lucknow)
“The saint community of Ayodhya has decided to end the tradition of jal samadhi. A formal decision will be taken on the issue soon. We will issue an appeal to all to not dispose of the dead in the river and instead cremate them,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of Mani Ram Das Chhavni Peeth.
The issue would also be taken up with all other saints, he added.
The Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirath Kshetra Trust has also requested to people to not dispose of bodies in rivers and instead cremate them.
Last week, the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation had also convened a meeting on the issue, seeking to end the tradition.
“Recovery of large number of bodies from river Ganga can also be attributed to this tradition of jal samadhi. Earlier, this was a rarity. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, a large number of deaths have taken place,” said lawyer and social activist Kaushlendra Singh of Nanpara in Bahraich district.
“In this pandemic, more young people have died, and their bodies have been disposed of in the river as per tradition,” added Singh..
To note, in all sects of the saint community there is a tradition of jal samadhi.
In Ayodhya alone in the past one –and-a- half months, around 15 saints were give jal samadhi. However, all these deaths were due to natural causes and old age.
“In all sects of the saint community the deceased are given Jal Samadhi. In the past oneand-ahalf months, 15 saints in Ayodhya were given jal samadhi in river Saryu. All of them were above 60 years and had died due to natural reasons,” said Raju Das, priest Hanuman Garhi, Ayodhya. This recent surge in bodies floating in river Ganga was a deliberate attempt to create panic, he added.
Bodies have been deliberately dumped in river Ganga, Das asserted.