The High Court of Uttarakhand equates the waters of the sacred river for Hindus to a human being. The goal is to reduce the pollution caused by industrialization and urbanization. Indian activist: "The Hindu radicals use pollution to come to power." The courts must also take action for Dalits who live on the river banks.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - An Indian court ruled that the waters of the Ganges and its main tributary Yamuna, considered sacred by over a billion Hindus, be treated as "living human entity." According to judges of Uttarakhand High Court, this means they will have "the legal status of the person with all the rights, duties and responsibilities that come with it."
The decision comes after years of attempts to purify polluted water from industrial processes, urbanization and spillage of pesticides used in agriculture. Speaking to AsiaNews Lenin Raghuvanshi, a prominent activist and Executive Director of Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (Pvchr) in Varanasi, says: "It is a historic decision. For years, Hindu radical forces have come to power by using the issue of pollution of the Ganges. But their policies are just smoke and mirrors. "
According to the activist, the ruling is noteworthy more so for the "Dalits who live along the shores" of polluted rivers. "With this decision – he adds - we have raised the question about the government's political will to resolve the problem of pollution once and for all. So its deceptive tactics in removing waste and improve the livelihood of the marginalized who live on the banks are highlighted. "
Judges Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said that the new legal status "will help preserve and conserve water from pollution ". For this they ordered the creation of a supervisory body, the Ganga Management Board, within three months. The court stated that "the rivers are essential for half of India's population, their health and their well-being. From time immemorial they provide physical and spiritual nourishment ". The ruling comes after a number of complaints against Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments, accused of not cooperating with the federal government in an effort to eliminate pollution from waterways and protect plant and animal species that inhabit them.
It must be emphasized, refers Raghuvanshi, that "Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are ruled by the Hindu nationalist party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)". In the last election, the political movement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a landslide, with 325 seats out of a total of 403. "It is important - he concludes - that now the court also intervene for the life and dignity of Dalits ".
The judges overturn a ruling by the Upper Court of Uttarakhand. The river is highly polluted by industrial waste, urbanization, pesticides. The new legal status threatened to make the river responsible for flood damage.
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