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A brief note on the events of 15th April Save River Yamuna Demonstration On the very second day of arrival in Delhi, the unprecedented foot march held by Maan Mandir Sewa Sansthan had been successful in its short term objectives. The government has in principle agreed to release more water in River Yamuna (adequate natural water flow in the entire stretch) It was 13th of April when the brave foot marchers reached outskirts of Delhi. It tasted succsess on arrival.

The MLA (local representative of government) of Mathura Vrindavan took them to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi (Chair person of the ruling party) where they were assured, that their demands would be met with due considerations. They next met the minister of Environment followed by a meeting with the Minister of Water resources. They were granted patient hearings and firm assurances on their demands. On mutual discussions it was unanimously decided to go ahead with firm protests as mere assurances were not enough. The Foot march entered the city of Delhi, a day before its schedule.

There was a lot of excitement and commotion on the first day. A press conference was held at the Press Club of India and the marchers expressed their experiences of the tough and eye opening journey on the 750 kms they had travelled on the banks of River Yamuna. They also talked about their demands and the response of various ministers and government officials over them. The 15th of April saw tremendous action. Around 9 o’clock sankeertan marked the beginning ( Shri Baba Maharaaj says everything is incomplete without Harinaam) of the eventful public meeting. Later, Jay Kishan Das baba began the proceedings of speeches with around 2000 people. There were views presented by various area representatives of Farmers who had come from far and vide. Slowly, the crowd started to grow with more devotees and farmers coming from various parts of the country. All were directed to the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara first for langar(meals), which was graciously offered by the Sikhs of Delhi. Around 2o’clock the crowd started to grow with speed. Several buses from various parts of Braj started reaching the venue. Now, better orators were let on stage and their skills began to provoke people. More eminent personalities like Member of Parliament, MLA’s and other political dignitaries started to pour in. Big environmentalist also joined in. Senior Saints of Mathura Vrindavan also graced the occasion.

Speakers from different walks of life shared divergent dimensions on the issues of River Yamuna. Then spoke the greatest speaker present, Shri Bhanu Prataap, the leader of Farmers who were partners in the campaign. The government had sent Ms. Rita Bahuguna(the leader of Congress party in the state of Uttar Pradesh). She presented the governments stand on the issue which did not go down well with the campaigners. There was a huge opposition by the crowd which had now grown to a size of nearly 10000(various individual groups who are active on river Yamuna had been coming in all along). The government representative left the venue and after sometime the authorities sent another minister to speak for them. The stand taken by the government this time also did not gel with the campaigners who kept growing by the minute. Villagers,priests,farmers,labouers,muslims and many others from different walks of life were there. Amongst them was Shriji Baba of Mathura, Shri Radha Kishan Maharaaj of Gujraat, Swami Ram Anand of Vrindavan and several other saints.

The gopis of Maan Mandir played the most important role in the demonstrations, that of Harinaam Sankeertan. There was a lot of dancing, rasias, keertan and bliss because of the Maan Mandir Devotees. Many campaigners were glued to the keertan spot and media people had a field day. The campaign heads then gave the government 24 hours to react. However, by late evening the authorities called up and said that they were in principal agreeing to the primary demand of releasing more water in the river. However, since assessing how much is enough and how it can be achieved, they needed more time. In response the campaigners offered to help in the matter with their own inputs and this was agreed by the government.

They both met on the 16th later and had fruitful discussions. The campaign has moved forward but a lot need to be done. People from across the world need to keep reminding the government that they are being tracked from all over. We need more letters of concern and vigil.