Telangana: Man digs highway in search of Shiva Lingam, says ‘Lord asked him’
Lakhan Manoj was arrested after he deployed an earth-moving machine to dig a 15-feet well on the National Highway 163 that connects Hyderabad and Warangal.india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 20:43 IST
A village scavenger who claimed to have been “visited” by Lord Shiva in his dreams was arrested in Telangana for digging up a national highway in search of a lingam, police said on Tuesday.
The self-styled seer, Lakhan Manoj (30), was arrested on Monday after he deployed an earth-moving machine to dig a 15-feet well on the National Highway 163 that connects Hyderabad and Warangal.
A village sarpanch, a municipal vice chairman and a local Congress leader were also taken into custody for helping Lakhan, who claimed he was asked by Lord Shiva to look for the lingam, police added. The incident happened at Pembarthi of Jangaon district
Religious beliefs and superstition drive lakhs of people in India to self-styled religious leaders, who claim to represent god and have divine powers, rationalists say. Over the past few years, several seers have landed in jail on different charges, including fraud and sexual assault of followers, most of them illiterate villagers.
“How can these village elders believe him and take up digging of the road? We have booked cases against them....We shall fill up the pit with the help of Roads and Buildings department and recover the cost from the villagers,” Jangaon deputy commissioner of police T Venkanna told HT.
He quoted Lakhan as telling villagers that Lord Shiva has been “visiting” him in dreams for the last five years and asking him to dig up the earth at a particular spot near Pembarthi, where a Shiv Lingam was buried at a depth of 12 feet.
The phallic-shaped lingam – made of stone or metal – is worshiped as a representation of the Hindu god.
“Lord Shiva asked me to see that a temple is constructed there, but the villagers did not take me seriously. But I used to come here and perform pujas to the lord,” police quoted Manoj as saying.
After convincing the villagers, he started digging with the help of an earth-moving machine hired by villagers, resulting in a traffic jam on the national highway.
The police initially hesitated to stall the excavation but intervened when Manoj tried to dig deeper.