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Mining protester Das, who immolated, laid to rest: Govt to probe death

MATHURA, July 24: The last rites of saint Vijay Das who self-immolated on July 20 protesting against Illegal mining in Rajasthan, and subsequently died at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital in the early hours of Saturday, was held in Barsana in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

Das, 65, and other saints had had been staging protests in Pasopa village of Deeg tehsil of Rajasthan's Bharatpur district against illegal mining in the sacred hills of Aadibari and Kankachal. They had been demanding a ban on mining in Deeg, Kaman and Nagar. The protest was going on since January 16, 2021. After he immolated himself, Das was first taken to the Bharatpur district hospital with 80% burns and later shifted to Delhi.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased saint. He questioned, "when the Government had given its in-principle consent to the demands of the seers, under what circumstances did he take this unfortunate step." The land was declared as forest land, conceding the seers' demand, although officially they were legalised mines. The Chief Minister said the incident will be investigated.

Opposition BJP leaders Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje blamed the State Government for the death and demanded a probe into the matter.

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