Santosh Trivedi, priest at Kedarnath shrine, was shifted to AIIMS in Rishikesh on Monday after his health worsened while protesting against the formation of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board in Uttarakhand. The 32-year old priest has been protesting in freezing temperatures for over 2 months.
Santosh Trivedi was transported to Rishikesh on a helicopter. Priests have been protesting over the formation of the board for a long time. Their demandsa have not yet been met by the state government. They have been threatening to continue the protest until the decision to form the board is taken back.
Vinod Shukla, the president of Kedarnath Tirtha Purohit Mahasabha, was quoted by Hindutan Times as saying, “We have been protesting for months, but the state government has not paid any heed to our demands. Even in such extreme temperatures in Kedarnath, Trivedi would protest bare-chested outside the shrine and eat only one meal a day. His health condition has worsened. He has been admitted to AIIMS in Rishikesh for treatment.”
“A team rushed to the shrine and brought the priest to Lincholi on a stretcher, from where he was airlifted to Dehradun for treatment,” Vineet Kumar, an official from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), said. Harish Thapliyal, the public relations officer (PRO) at AIIMS, Rishikesh, stated, “A priest from Kedarnath, Santosh Trivedi, was admitted to the hospital at around 11.30 am on Monday. He complained of pain in his lower abdomen and was administered medicines accordingly. Doctors have taken his swab samples for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) test as per the protocol. He is being examined further.”
Santosh Trivedi has been protesting wearing just a Dhoti since June. “My protest is against the formation of the Devsthanam Board. This move is to deprive us priests from our traditional rights. I will continue my protests,” he had said. Vinod Shukla has threatened to intensify the protests across the Char Dham shrines if anything unfortunate happened to the Kedarnath priest.