Disaster brought stone to temple,politics makes it ‘divine rock’

The rush to begin the puja indicates heightened politics around the shrine.

Written by Sanjay Singh | Dehradun | Published: August 3, 2013 3:07:00 am

It is supposed to be the divine rock that stood in the way of the flood and the Kedarnath shrine,splitting the torrent as it came down the hillside,and diverting it away from the temple.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has now decided to let the hulking boulder stay where it got wedged in the ground after tumbling down the mountain during the flash flood of June 16 just behind the temple.

There is also the political impulse: the Congress is keen to not allow the BJP to harness growing popular belief in the flood-ravaged state that the rock acted as the saviour of the temple.

“We will write to the GSI (Geological Survey of India) and ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) to allow this divya shila (divine rock) to remain at the same spot at the rear of the Kedarnath temple,” Bahuguna said on Friday.

After a meeting with the Kedarnath Badrinath Temple Committee on Friday,Bahuguna announced the resumption of puja at the Kedarnath temple on September 11.

“At the request of the sant samaj,the government has agreed to resume puja at Kedarnath temple on September 11,” the chief minister told reporters. He said he was likely to meet the committee again on August 25 or 26.

The rush to begin the puja indicates heightened politics around the shrine. The BJP has constituted a relief and rehabilitation team comprising Uma Bharti,Shahnawaz Hussain and former chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.

Clean-up operations in the Kedar valley,which is seeing heavy rain,remains a difficult and dangerous task. Three people have died in the last 10 days,including an SDM-rank official who was swept away after a bridge near the temple collapsed.

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