Swami Agnivesh, the saffron clad ‘secular’ swami passes away

Admitted to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi, Swami was on ventilator since Tuesday due to multi-organ failure

Swami Agnivesh
Swami Agnivesh
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NH Web Desk

Known as ‘Secular Swami’ among his friends and foes, social activist and the face of Bandhua Mukti Morcha (Bonded Labour Liberation Front) Swami Agnivesh passed away on Friday. He had been struggling between life and death for at least four days.

Admitted to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi, Swami was on ventilator since Tuesday due to multi-organ failure. He was admitted to the hospital due to liver cirrhosis. Though a liver transplant was planned earlier, it was postponed due to deterioration in his condition.

A friend of Swami Agnivesh and general secretary, Rajasthan PUCL, Kavita Shrivastav said on Tuesday that “the doctors are non committal regarding him showing improvement.”

“He is 81 years old. His latest concern was the SC order on the demolitions of 48000 houses in Delhi, which begins tomorrow. The first 10,000 will be demolished tomorrow. Friends, the erstwhile Jharkhand Government did nothing regarding catching the accused who attacked Swamiji leading to grievous injuries. They did not even apply section 307 IPC. They made it a simple Section 323 IPC case. Let's hope Swamiji will be up and about soon,” Kavita Shrivastav had added.

Swami Agnivesh, who was always at the forefront in fights against the “anti-Muslim regime” was beaten up by the right wing goons at Pankur, Jharkhand in 2017. The activist was on his way to Litipara to participate in an event organised by the Pahariya tribal community. “Perhaps his liver got perforated during the incident,” his aide Gorana had told Kavita.


Born in Andhra Pradesh, Swami Agnivesh spent his formative years in Kolkata, studying Law and Commerce. Later, he came in contact with Arya Samaj and took sanyas. He made Haryana his base and founded a political party, Arya Sabha in 1970. Seven years later, he was elected to the Haryana assembly.

He remained active in various areas of social activism including campaigns against communalism, bonded labour, female foeticide and the emancipation of women since then. He also actively participated in Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in 2011-2012.

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