Project - Braj Hills-Crusade for the protection in Deeg-Kaman (Rajasthan)

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Braj Hills-Crusade for the protection in Deeg-Kaman (Rajasthan)

Illegal mining for masonry stone was being done over several years on the hills of historic importance in Deeg and Kaman Tehsil of Bharatpur (Raj) and Chhata Tehsil of Mathura district of Braj. This was causing adverse effects on environment, agriculture, health and heritage. Inspired by the revolutionary saint of Braj Shri Ramesh Baba, the Sadhus of Shri Maan Mandir, Barsana were fighting a battle against illegal mining by risking their life. Unfortunately their voice was not being heard beyond the small townships of Deeg & Kaman.
The Braj Foundation provided the concrete research and advocacy base for the entire campaign to protect the hills of Braj which was eventually successful when the Chief Minister of Rajasthan declared the heritage hills of Braj within Rajasthan as the reserve forests in November 2009.

  • The founder of The Braj Foundation and well known crusader, journalist Vineet Narain prepared a complete strategy for making this a national issue. He used his influence with the editors of national news papers and of T.V. channels to ensure proper coverage of this struggle.
  • In Dec 2005, Mr. Narain published two tabloids in Hindi & English titled ‘Kalchakra’ as a special edition on illegal mining in Braj.
  • He also produce two very powerful and informative video films on the this movement in Hindi and English.
  • This material proved to be the back bone of this movement and created worldwide awareness.
  • On March 28th 2005 Mr. Narain wrote strong protest lettrers to the top leaders of BJP, VHP and RSS to intervene in this matter because BJP was ruling in Raj. at that time. His letters were duly acknowledged however it took long before the final success came.
  • The Braj Foundation's team prepared an exhautive, informative and very effective Flex Exhibition of the destruction being done on the hills of Braj. This scientifically designed exhibitiomn was put up at the Maan Mandir, Barsana, in Delhi, Lucknow and Jaipur to educate the general public about this issue.
  • Mr. Narain hosted several meetings of the Saints of Vrindavan at his family home in Vrindavan and Fogal Ashram to involve them in this movement.In all such meetings Shri Ramesh Baba and the sadhus of Maan Mandir were present.
  • The survey team of Braj Foundation went to Deeg and Kaman in 2005 and 2006 and conducted the scientific survey of these hills to study the threat to the heritage sites on these hills.
  • Braj Foundation started a e-campaign in Jan 2005 against mining in Braj and drew lot of support from people all over the world. Even Muslims,Chinese and Christians supported the move.
  • Narain with the help of his friends Mr. Rajan Sanghi of Jaipur and that time associate, Mr. Raghav Mittal, got the scientific study done of the destruction of hills, by the National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad. The same was then analyzed by IIT Roorkee.
  • It was then discovered that these hills are located in the 72 Sq.Km. of Braj area and their slope is 17,800 acres. After this study the correct estimate of the damage, caused to these hills by illegal mining was also made.
  • In 2003 a mass movement for the protection was launched by the Braj Rakshak Dal (founded by the inspiration of Shri Baba Maharaj and headed by Mr. Narain) to protect the hills. Mr. Narain addressed several press conferences in Mumbai, Delhi and other places to draw national attention on this destruction. This was for the first time that English media wrote about this destruction.This movement drew both national and international interest towards the pathetic plight of these historic hills.
  • In Nov. 2005, on the written complaint of Mr. Narain, the Central Pollution Control Board conducted raid at the mining sites on the hills and submitted its powerful report against mining.
  • In 2005, The Braj Foundation team engaged wellknown environmental layers and filed PIL in the Supreme Court of India against the Union of India and concerned states to demand complete ban on mining of Braj hills. This move acted as a deterrent against illegal mining to some extent. In this process, when the Apex Court appointed Central Empowered Committee to look into the matter, the anti-hill destruction movement got further impetus. The visits of CEC created panic in the hearts of local machinery.
  • The Braj Foundation’s team repeatedly went with the Sadhus of Maan Mandir to every major public meeting in Deeg and Kaman and paid for the transport of the TV and press crews from Mathura, Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, whom Mr Narain had mobilised due to his long standing in media. He along with his technical teammates went to every high level meetings with the Rajasthan Govt. in Jaipur to professionaly present the case of Braj Hills.  The scientific and well researched power point presentation prepared by the Foundation, became an effective tool in presenting our case to the Raj Govt.
  • Mr. Narain wrote several articles in his weekly syndicated columns in popular national dailies throughout the country to draw public attention against the destruction of heritage hills.  
  • From the very beginning, Mr. Narain brought top national leaders of different political parties to Barsana to show them the pathetic plight of Braj hills. The list included Mr. Nitish Kumar (the then Railway Minister) (JDU), Mr. Arjun Singh (Cong-I), Mrs. Sushma Swaraj (BJP), Mr. Lalu Yadav (RJD), Mr. Rajeev Shukla (Cong-I), Mr. Jaiprakash Yadav & Dr Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (JDU), Mrs. Menaka  Gandhi (BJP), Mr. B.P. Singhal (BJP) and so on.
  • To draw the attention of Delhi's ruling elite , Braj Rakshak Dal organized 40 days of Dharna at the Jantar Mantar of New Delhi in April 2006. This was led by the Sadhus of Shri Maan Mandir and it created sufficient curiosity amongst the rulers on this issue. Due to the efforts of the Foundation the dharna was well covered by the print and TV media.
  • Since the sadhus were not able to have access to the top BJP leadership Mr. Narain led several delegations of the activists and sadhus to meet top BJP leaders such as Mr. L.K. Advani, Mr. Rajnath Singh, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi etc.and gave them PPT on Braj and conveyed our pain about the hill destruction.
  • The Braj Foundation organized the first ever high profile seminar on May 7th, 2005, at the Delhi’s prestigious Constitutional Club on hill destruction in Braj. It was attended by the Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board and eminent layers like Mr. M.C. Mehta etc.which provided the legitimacy to our cause. 
  • For this entire campaign against hill destruction, no financial support was ever taken from Shri Maan Mandir Seva Sansthan Trust of Barsana. The resources were raised by the Foundation.
  • On 7th Dec. 2006, when Mr. Narain along with the BJP leader and ex.DG Police, UP, Mr.  B.P.Singhal, went to express solidarity with the sadhus sitting on hunger strike at Bolkheda hills, in Deeg, he was violently attacked by the mine mafia led by local political leaders. His Quails vehicle was severely damaged with the brutal attacks of lathis and stones. He was physically dragged out of the car with the sole aim of killing him. Because the minning lobby knew for sure that the entire impetus to this movement has come due to experienced leadership of Narain otherwise it was merely a local struggle of handfull people, they wanted to kill Narain.However Foundation's alert driver Rameshwar sped the car through the hostile mob and was able to save Vineet Narain.Frustrated with this the muscle men of the mine mafia chased his car with constant shower of bullets for almost 20 kms. till this vehicle entered UP border, where UP police, which was by then alerted, took charge of Narain’s vehicle.
  • No criminal action till this date has been taken against the accused even when Mr. Singhal gave a written complain to the then CM of Rajasthan. There are number of visual evidences and eye witnesses to this hair raising incident. By the grace of Shri Baba Maharaj and Shri Radharani, everyone else in the car was also protected. This included Shri Radhakant Shastri of Maan Mandir, Shri Raghav Mittal, Shri Manish Chauhan and also Mr. B.P.Singhal.Despite this hair raising inccident Mr. Narain remained vocal about hill issue. He continued to write strong articles in news papers. Gave TV statements against mining lobby. Frequently travelled in Braj to oversee the development work that too without protection.
  • Despite such dedication, fearlessness, vision, leadership and commitment shown by Mr. Vineet Narain and his team throughout the struggle, some vested interests, with petty minds, spread the rumors in Braj and in USA etc.that Narain has withdrawn from the Hill Protection Movement. So much so that the entire effort by his team was totally concealed from public knowledge in India and abroad. Despite this humiliation, Mr. Narain continued to support the cause and faced threats from the mafia. Every word written above is backed with solid evidences. It is for you to judge why some people in the name of Braj Sewa made false allegations and concealed facts.
  • On 9th Nov. 2009, Mr. Vineet Narain had to rush back from Gujarat, where he was lecturing top ONGC officials on an official assignment. He was called by Shri Radha Jeevan Das and Shri Radha Kant Shastri to help them because Baba Maharaj and the yatris of Shri Radharani Braj Yatra had started fast unto death in Kaman (Bharatpur) against mining.
  • Narain with great difficulty pursuaded around 15 activists including sadhus to join him and rushed to Jaipur where he knocked the door of the then Chief Minister of Rajasthan Mr. Ashok Gehlot at 11 in the night.
  • He forced the CM to listen to their woes. After several hours of arguments, CM finally agreed to declare the entire Braj hill region in Rajasthan as ‘protected forest’. Mr. Narain requested the CM to call the concerned Secretaries in the night and notify his order which was done. Mr Gehlot did so because he had been briefed by Narain for years about this fight when he was out of power. So in the past he had expressed solidarity with this cause, now it was his turn to take some bold decisions.
  • Mr. Narain, due to his long activist background, knew the fate of such hunger strike at Kaman (as one saw during Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike), hence he did not want tired yatris and children to suffer. However some envious people now claim that if Vineet Narain would not have gone to Jaipur, the CM would have come crawling to the site of Dharna in Kaman. It is for the posterity to judge what could happened if he would not have taken that initiative that night.
  • The studies done by The Braj Foundation and the campaign led by its members provided the scientific and legal basis to this movement at every stage till the battle was won after five prolonged and dangerous years of conflict with the mining lobby.
  • Braj Foundation feels that this historic battle could not have been won without the Tapa Bal of Shri Ramesh Baba Maharaj and the selfless and sustain struggle of the sadhus of Shri Maan Mandir, Barsana. We at the foundation served the cause like the squirrel, who contributed to the construction of Ram Setu, during Lord Ram’s expedition to Lanka. We will continue to abide by the instructions of Shri Baba Maharaj in the service of Shri Braj Dhaam. We pray at the lotus feet of all the devotees of Braj to give us the courage to continue to serve selflessly.
  • With the assistance of Gujarat based NGO ‘Samast Mahajan’ and ‘UNDP’ a model was prepared by the Foundation to make these forests green again and restoration work of Ratnagiri hills of Barsana was started.
  • The Braj Foundation is making detailed plans to make these hills green with the help of Govt. of India, Rajasthan Govt. and other NGOs.

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