A year after floods devastated Kedarnath, Union water resources minister Uma Bharti has revealed the “underlying” cause of the disaster -- defecation near the shrine by non-believers.
Her observations came during an interaction with experts – albeit bemused -- of the Dehradun-based Himalayan Institute of Glaciology and Forest Research Institute. Pointing out that human excretory activities were forbidden within the natural boundary formed by the Mandakini and Saraswati rivers which flowed near the shrine in 1882, Bharti said, “However, as time passed, atheists came here, mainly for business purposes. This resulted in nature’s fury at Kedarnath in 2013”.
The minister also said that she was keen to restore the status of no-man’s land around the shrine which existed before 1882.
Saraswati has since been reduced to a mere trickle.
She, however, added that the “immediate reason” for the Kedarnath deluge was cloudburst and excessive rains in the state which had left over 6,000 people dead. “But the underlying reason was human excretion,” she added.
Bharti’s comments – which apparently defied scientific logic – came a few days after another of her ministerial colleague Maneka Gandhi said that funds from “illegal cow slaughter” was being used to fund Islamic terrorism.
Bharti is in Dehradun to discuss details for reconstruction of the Kedarnath shrine.
One among the four main pilgrimages in the Himalayan state known as the ‘char dham’, the Kedarnath shrine draws lakhs of devotees every year.