"His treatment was not only neglected by the state government, but we have information that some vested interest in the hospital where he was admitted mixed poison in the water he was drinking. Following this, he slipped into coma. He never regained consciousness," Rekha Jha, Nigamananda's aunt who is a schoolteacher in Bihar told rediff.com in a telephonic conversation on Wednesday morning.
He had begun his fast on February 19 and was in coma since May 2. He was receiving treatment at Jolly Grant Himalayan Institute Hospital, Dehradun where yoga guru Baba Ramdev was also being treated. According to Nigamananda postmortem report, he died due to septicaemia and degenerative brain disorder.
The swami's grandfather Pandit Surya Narain Jha said the government should probe the seer's death. "He was fighting a lone battle to save the Ganga, but neither the government nor the media showed any concern. He died a martyr for a huge cause," said Pandit Surya Narain Jha, who lives in Ladari village in Bihar's Darbhanga district, about 200 km from Patna.
Nigamananda, 36, was born in this village and spent his childhood there. He left the village when he was 17.
Rekha Jha said that the news of his death sent shock waves throughout the village. "All the villagers are mourning, no one cook food on Tuesday night to show solidarity for our grief-stricken family. After all Nigamananda was the real son of the soil; a true saint not a media-created one," she said.
Nigmananda was known to villagers as Swarupam Kumar Girish, said Surya Narain Jha, a retired schoolteacher from the village. "He changed his name after he took sanyas. In October 1995 when he was 17, he left home. A letter was found in his room saying that he had left in search of peace and truth," he said.
Nigamananda went to Holy Cross School and passed Std X from Sarvodya School. In Std XII, he went to the New Delhi-based Greenview school. "After, Std XII his mindset began to change and he became a sanyasi," said his aunt.
Nigamananda's father Prakash Chandra Jha, is an engineer who has a government job and other members of the family are also educated.
Image: Swami Nigamananda slipped into coma on May 2