Renowned social activist Swami Agnivesh dies at 80

Renowned social activist Swami Agnivesh has passed away at the age of 80.

He was admitted at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and was suffering from liver cirrhosis and was critically ill and on ventilatory support since Tuesday due to multi-organ failure.

The 80-year-old Agnivesh, a former MLA from Haryana, founded a political party, Arya Sabha, that was based on the principles of the Arya Samaj in 1970. He is also an advocate for dialogue between religions.

He is best known for his work against bonded labour through the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, which he founded in 1981.

Agnivesh became president (2004–2014) of the World Council of Arya Samaj, which is the highest international body of the Arya Samaj, and served as the chairperson of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery from 1994 to 2004.

On 17 July 2018, Agnivesh was attacked by Hindu extremists in Jharkhand; the attackers kept beating him even after he fell to the ground. His assailants accused him of being sympathetic to Christian missionaries, and “against Hindus.”

Agnivesh was born as Vepa Shyam Rao on 21 September 1939 at Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.