- Social activist and Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh passed away Friday at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in New Delhi. He was 80.
- Agnivesh had been suffering from liver cirrhosis and was put on ventilatory support on Tuesday due to multiple organ failure.
- “His condition deteriorated today and he went into cardiac arrest at 6:00 PM. Resuscitation was attempted but the stalwart passed away at 6:30 PM,” said a statement by the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.
- He was elected to the Haryana Assembly in 1977 and was made education minister after two years. He, however, resigned from the post in protest against the Haryana government’s inaction against police who had opened fire at workers protesting bonded labour.
- Swami Agnivesh also led several initiatives to foster peace and interfaith harmony in Kashmir at the height of militancy, his website notes. In 2010, he was tasked by the Congress government to open a dialogue with the Maoist leadership.
- A year later he was part of the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare. He was forced to split from the group after a video surfaced allegedly showing him speaking to a minister from the Congress government. It was around this time that Swami Agnivesh appeared on reality TV show Bigg Boss as a guest.
- Swami Agnivesh, who was president of World Council of Arya Samaj till 2014, had also angered Hindu groups for his comments on Amarnath shrine in Jammu & Kashmir.
- In 2018, he was attacked by protesters allegedly belonging to the BJP’s youth wing in Jharkhand. Videos of the attack showed protesters asking Agnivesh to “go back” while calling him a “Pakistani agent”.
- A month later, Agnivesh was assaulted on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Marg in New Delhi on his way to pay tribute to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- He created a new task for emancipation of womanhood, which was a helpful factor in the Commission of Sati (prevention) Act of 1987.
- In 2005, Agnivesh was part of a two-week campaign against female foeticide that travelled across India.
- In 1968, Agnivesh went to Haryana to join the Arya Samaj and on 25 March 1970, Agnivesh took the sanyas vows.He was expelled from the organisation in August 2008, after 17 of the 19 Arya Samaj Pratinidhi Sabhas in India expressed opposition to him
- Agnivesh was also a proponent of interfaith dialogue and was a member of the Board of World Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.
- In 2015, he opposed Government’s plan of separate settlement for Kashmiri Pandits as part of their rehabilitation in the valley.
- Agnivesh advocated rights of marginalised people in society and went to Pakur district of Jharkhand to address a rally of farmers and tribal members.