Indian minister hospitalised after drinking from ‘holy’ river

Indian minister hospitalised after drinking from ‘holy’ river

An Indian minister was hospitalised after drinking from a polluted “holy” river to show residents the water was safe.

Bhagwant Mann, chief minister of the northern Indian state of Punjab was airlifted to New Delhi, after drinking from the Kali Bein river which residents have long complained was dirty.

A well-known environmentalist and a fellow parliamentarian had invited Mr Mann to participate in the 22nd anniversary of an annual clean of the river in Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab.

A video showing Mr Mann scooping up a glass of water which is believed to be polluted with sewage waste has gone viral.

Around 80 villages and six towns are located along the banks of the 165 km river and their wastewater flows into it.

A top official in Punjab told The Telegraph that pollutant water, mainly sewage waste, flows into the river. “We frequently receive complaints from people that the river is being polluted by the sewage waste coming out of these residential areas,” he said, seeking anonymity.

In March, Mr Mann was elected as chief minister of Punjab after a campaign which focused on providing safe drinking water to its residents.

Punjab has India’s highest incidence of cancers in India owing to contaminated water from rapid industrialisation.

He has launched a campaign to clean rivers and drains across the state.

‘Blessed’ with the opportunity

Following his airlift to hospital, his party, Aam Admi (AAP) said: “Bhagwant Mann drank water from the Bein and said that he was blessed to have got this opportunity.”

However, AAP leaders denied Mr Mann had any infection, insisting he went to the hospital for a routine check-up and was discharged that evening.

In 2000, a member of Indian parliament, Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, popularly known as “eco baba”, started cleaning the Kali Bein with the help of followers.

According to Sikh mythology, Kali Bein is where Guru Nanak, founder and first Guru of Sikhism, gained enlightenment.

While he was staying with his sister Bebe Nanki in Sultanpur Lodhi, he would bathe in the water.

One day, he is said to have disappeared after taking a dip in the stream, only to appear three days later. He then proclaimed his essential teaching that there is only one God and truth is his name.

Kali Bein means black stream and it got its name because of the black minerals in its water.

However, Indian media has reported that the waste turned the waters of the rivulet black and hence it is called Kali Bein.

The post Indian minister hospitalised after drinking from ‘holy’ river appeared first on The Telegraph.

Last Update: Fri, 22 Jul 22 15:07:06