Political leaders across the board condoled the death of social activist Swami Agnivesh, who passed away on Friday due to multi-organ failure. Agnivesh, who was 80, had been critically ill with liver cirrhosis and had been on ventilator support since Tuesday. His body will be kept at the Bandhua Mukti Morcha office in Delhi on Saturday to allow the people to pay their final respects.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, veteran actor Shabana Azmi, lyricist Javed Akhtar and others paid tributes to Agnivesh, who was also a former MLA from Haryana.
Gandhi condoled the demise saying all his life, Agnivesh fought with great courage and a conviction for the marginalised. She said Swami Agnivesh was the most powerful and effective voice for the vulnerable and defenceless. She praised his work to promote interfaith understanding and dialogue and justice for the tribal people in Chhattisgarh.
Actor Shabana Azmi, condoling the death, took to Twitter and paid tribute to Swami Agnivesh. Azmi praised Agnivesh’s work to rescue and rehabilitate bonded labourers. Agnivesh was also associated with India Against Corruption led by Anna Hazare.
The deceased leader had been not on good terms with right-wing activists, who had accused him of working against sanatan dharma. In 2018, Agnivesh was beaten up in Jharkhand by right-wing workers. In another incident from 2018, Agnivesh was assaulted on his way to pay tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The assault took place at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in New Delhi.
Swami Agnivesh tried to connect Hinduism with socialism in what he called Vedic Socialism. His activism led him to the streets, often conducting tireless campaigns across the country, on issues ranging from against female foeticide to child slavery.