Some activists late evening on Saturday took a “holy bath” with the dry Yamuna sand, as there was no water in the river. They poured sand over their bodies and sprinkled and splashed to the amusement of a big crowd. Some pretended to swim on the dry river bed, while a few others enacted a drowning scene.

Volunteers of the River Connect Campaign said, “Since there was no water in the river but just industry effluents, sewer and municipal waste, we had to take a bath with the sand to protest and draw attention to the deplorable state of the river.”

On the occasion of Ganga Dussehra today, lakhs of people took a holy dip in the rivers, particularly Yamuna and Ganga.

The River Connect Campaigners have demanded a national river policy and constitution of a central rivers authority on the lines of NHAI. The campaign has been continuing for more than two years at the Etmauddaula view point park where a group daily holds a meeting and conducts the ritualistic aarti of Yamuna.

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Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Sunday visited the Yamuna, between the two world heritage monuments – the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort – and pulled up officials for letting raw sewage drain into the river.

District authorities are collaborating with the Archaeological Survey of India to develop a park on the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor site, whose 80 acre chunk of the river bed is now being used as a dumping ground for waste. Efforts are now being made to green up the whole area in a phased manner.

The Chief Minister was briefed about the details of the project, but questioned the District Magistrate and other officials why drains were opening into the river and discharging untreated waste water and sewage.

–With IANS inputs