Swami Agnivesh passes away: The Arya Samaj leader who went to Bigg Boss

Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh, who was hospitalised due to liver cirrhosis at the Institute of Liver and Billary Sciences (ILBS) here, passed away on Friday.

Swami was in a critical condition after suffering multi-organ failure during the treatment, the hospital said on Thursday.

The social activist was admitted to the ILBS on Tuesday and has been on ventilator since then. A multi-disciplinary team is monitoring his condition.

The 80-year-old Agnivesh, a former MLA from Haryana, founded a political party, Arya Sabha, that was based on the principles of the Arya Samaj in 1970. He is also an advocate for dialogue between religions.

He is involved in various areas of social activism including campaigns against female foeticide and the emancipation of women. He was a prominent associate of Anna Hazare during the India Against Corruption's campaign in 2011 to implement the Jan Lokpal Bill.

All you need to know about the Arya Samaj leader

Anti-Terrorism Global Peace Conference

In 2008, Swami addressed a gathering at the Anti-Terrorism Global Peace Conference, Ramlila Ground which was organised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and other Islamic organisations. In his address, he said that "It is wrong to attribute the wrongdoings of a few individuals to the whole community."

He had alsp supported Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's demand to ban the singing of Vande Mantaram by Muslims in India.

Brokered peace with Maoists

In Feb 2011, Swami helped in negotiating with Maoists to free five abducted policemen. In March 2011, Maoist forces allegedly killed three members of the Chhattisgarh security and police forces. Subsequently, the security forces attacked and burned the Maoist village. As Swami tried to bring relief in the affected village, angry mob allegedly comprising Chhattisgarh Special Police officers and former members of Salwa Judum pelted stones at Swami's vehicle for his advocacy in the Maoist cause.

Bigg Boss participant

Swami spent three days inside the Bigg Boss house as a house guest, from 8 to 11 November 2011.

Urine - traditional cure

Controversy sparked as a Visva Bharati warden forced a class 5 girl to drink her urine for bed-wetting. However, Swami did not have a problem with that. He claimed that drinking urine is a traditional cure for such condition."Why is there so much fuss made about the suggestion given to Visva-Bharati' Patha Bhavan school girl who was suggested to consume her own urine by her hostel warden, Uma Poddar, as cure for bed wetting. It is a simple piece of advice by the hostel warden, which has created so much ruckus by the girl's parents and then by the media," Swami said.

BJP youth workers thrashed Swami in Jharkhand’s Pakur

Swami was punched, kicked around and verbally abused, allegedly by the workers of BJP’s youth wing. Among those who joined in the free for all were activists of the RSS and the VHP, it is charged. Among those who joined in the free for all were activists of the RSS and the VHP, it is charged. The incident happened in Pakur area of Jharkhand. ”I pleaded with them with folded hands… But they didn’t think it was necessary to tell me why they were raining blows on me. They just went on and on,” Swami Agnivesh said. The swami was accused of speaking against ‘Sanatan dharma’ and being hand-in-glove with Christian missionaries, in their mission to instigate tribals in Jharkhand.

Modi opposition

In 2014, Swami Agnivesh urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the issue of religious conversions and reassert his agenda of development and said Hindu chauvinists “should fix their own backyard” before inviting people back home as part of their ‘ghar wapasi’ movement.

Swami Agnivesh said that Hindu rightwing groups’ determination to make Muslims and Christians embrace the Hindu religion was costing the government its credibility.

“Sooner or later, Modiji must speak out against such elements (who advocate religious conversion) … not just distance (himself) but totally disassociate himself from such fringe elements,” he said.

“Any attempt to dilute his message of development will be doing a permanent damage to the union government’s credibility and Modi’s personal image as well,” Agnivesh told IANS in an interview.

SC plea on Padmaavat

Swami had filed a plea with the SC which sought lodging of FIR against the producer and director of the film Padmaavat for glorifying the social evil of Jauhar (self-immolation by widows on their husband’s funeral pyre). The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra rejected the plea.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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