Three days after Swami Nigamananda died after a 114-day fast against the desecration of River Ganga, his father Prakash Chandra Jha has demanded that his body be handed over to him for the last rites.
The seer of Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Nigamananda was demanding immediate stopping of quarrying in the Ganga and alleged corruption in the government's system with active involvement of the mafia. He had begun his fast on February 19 and was in a coma since May 2.
According to Nigamananda's post-mortem report, he died due to septicaemia and degenerative brain disorder.
"I simply want the body of my son for his funeral. The Matri Sadan Ashram in Haridwar should hand over his body to the family," Prakash Chandra Jha, who is staging a dharna at the ashram, told rediff.com over the telephone.
"We have every right to perform his last rites. It is an age old tradition. But the ashram is denying that right to us," said Jha.
Swami Nigamananda's uncle Subhash Chandra Jha has sought the help of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the matter. "We have urged the Bihar government to help us," he said.
Nigamananda, 36, was born in Ladari village in Bihar's Darbhanga district. He left the village when he was 17.
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 sanyaas. 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.