The Uttarakhand High Court has directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh to provide the body of professor and environmentalist GD Agarwal alias Swami Gyan Swaroop to Matri Sadan for 76 hours, allowing his followers to pay their last respect to the deceased crusader of Ganga. Passing an order in Nainital on Friday, the court has asked AIIMS to deliver the body to the Haridwar based Ashram within eight hours.

Earlier this year, GD Agarwal had pledged his body to AIIMS-Rishikesh. He had completed all the legal formalities for it. Gyan Swaroop died on 11 October after undertaking an 111-day agitation for preservation and conservation of the Ganga river. When Matri Sadan demanded the body to allow the public to pay their last respects, the plea was rejected by AIIMS. Apart from family members, no one was allowed to see Agarwal’s body at the hospital. A big controversy erupted after the death of the Swami.

Dr Vijay Verma, a follower of GD Agarwal, approached the Uttarakhand High Court. Acting Chief Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Manoj Tiwari heard the case and passed a judgment to keep the body of Sanad at Matri Sadan for 76 hours. AIIMS had earlier rejected the demand claiming that the institute was not a place for display of bodies.

The Uttarakhand government forcefully lifted environmentalist GD Agarwal from his agitation site and hospitalised him at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh on 10 October. The fasting seer died on 11 October.