Strange Muslim names scribbled on rocks on a forest path leading to the India-China border in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh has created panic among residents as no one in the remote mountain region has such names, an official said on Friday.
Local villagers, most of whom are herders who use the path to take their livestock for grazing in the upper reaches and also gather Yarsa Gumba, an aphrodisiac, spotted the names on Thursday, said Vaibhav Gupta, Munsyari sub divisional magistrate.
“The district authorities have alerted the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and other security agencies as the matter concerns the pathway leading to the international border,” he told media persons.
Cattle herders who move their livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle, to the upper reaches during summer and to collect Yarsa Gumba–a prized aphrodisiac that has high value in the international market– spotted the strange names scribbled in English on rocks near the grazing land in Lingurani on Thursday, he said.
The names created panic among local residents as no one with such names reside in the region. The spot where the names were spotted is just 26 km from the international border and no outsider can reach the place without the permission from the ITBP.
An ITBP checkpost is situated at Lilam, a few km ahead of Lingurani near the international border and no one can go beyond the post without the knowledge of the border force. The scribbling of the names has created fear of trespassing or incursion by unknown persons in the highly sensitive area.
Harish Dariyal, a local resident, said that names have been scribbled on more than 10 rocks between Lingurani and Ralam, en route to the international border with China.
“One rock has the name Mohammad Nasir Ijajul scribbled on it but the wordings of other names cannot be read properly,” he said.
“I wonder how these people could have crossed the ITBP check post at Lilam without being detected, when locals themselves are not permitted to go to the upper without permission.”
Dariyal rejected the possibility that the names could have been a mischief by locals, saying that no one in the area will indulge in such a prank.
The area where the incident has come to light is forest land that is used for grazing cattle and also the path for collecting Yarsa Gumba, he said.
Uttarakhand shares a 350 km international border with China. In 2014, a Chinese helicopter violated the Indian airspace in Uttarakhand. Prior to this, 37 incursions by Chinese troops were reported in the state.