Dehradun, July 12
Avdhash Kaushal, social worker and Padma Shri award winner, died Tuesday morning in a private hospital following a long illness.
He was 87 years old.
Kaushal, who founded an NGO called Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, fought for human rights and environmental conservation.
He had been in pain for a long time and his vital organs had stopped working since Monday. He breathed his last at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, said the social worker‘s daughter-in-law, Rushi Kaushal.
Expressing his sorrow over the passing of Avdhash Kaushal, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said he symbolized courage and always fought for social issues.
Kaushal is credited with ending mining activities in Mussoorie in the 1980s. This stopped the damage to its fragile ecology.
He was also seen as a messiah to the nomadic Gujjar tribe living in the forests of the Rajaji and Corbett Tiger reservations as he fought a long administrative and legal battle for their rights and even went to jail during his struggle in 2015.
Kaushal also spoke out against the debt bondage system in the tribally dominated Jaunsar Bavar region. In his interviews, Kaushal claimed to have played an important role in preparing drafts of different laws, including the 1986 Environmental Conservation Act.
He had gone to court for spending huge sums of money providing free government housing and other facilities to former chief ministers for years after they left office.
Kaushal was reportedly close to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.