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Politician Hospitalised After Drinking 'Holy River' Water To Prove It's Clean

Politician Hospitalised After Drinking 'Holy River' Water To Prove It's Clean

Bhagwant Mann is said to have been airlifted to hospital after drinking the water

Bhagwant Mann, the chief minister of Punjab, reportedly had to be taken to hospital after drinking water from a 'holy river' in a bid to prove its cleanliness to others.

The Kali Bein river begins in Hoshiarpur, India and runs for more than 100 miles across four districts, with approximately 80 villages and six towns located along its banks.

In Sikh religion and history the river is considered to be significant because the first Guru, Nanak Dev, is said to have bathed in the water before becoming enlightened, emerging one day to recite the “Mool Mantra” of the Sikh religion.

Earlier this month, Mann drank a glassful of water from the river to mark the 22nd anniversary of its ongoing cleaning project which began on 16 July, 2000.

Images released by the Indian government showed the chief minister drinking the water, with a statement explaining Mann had also planted a sapling on the river's banks.

Just two days after drinking the water, Mann is said to have taken ill with a severe stomach ache at his home in Chandigarh, according to sources cited by The Indian Express.

The politician was airlifted from his home and taken to Delhi’s Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, where he underwent medical tests before being released from hospital on Thursday morning (21 July).

Later that day, Mann is said to have held a meeting with top police officials to congratulate them on an operation against two suspects thought to be involved in the murder of singer-turned-politician Sidhu Moosewala.

Mann has since been released from hospital.

The cleaning project of the Kali Bein was started by environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, who worked with a group of supporters to remove weeds, treat the water and spread awareness for the need for a cleanup.

They worked for years without government help, according to The Indian Express, but their efforts paid off in 2006 when then-President A P J Abdul Kalam visited the site in 2006 to offer them praise for the work.

The Congress government in Punjab at the time then announced it would officially take up the project to stop untreated water being released into the river, finding around 73 villages in three districts had been releasing sewer water.

As part of the project, every village was required to build a pond to collect the sewer water so it could be processed before being used for irrigation. Though the project has made some progress, a large number of fish are still said to die in the Kali Bein every year due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

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Featured Image Credit: @ashoswai/Twitter

Topics: World News, Health