Shimla: If the mountain will not come to Mohammad, Mohammad will go to the mountain. In the present day context, the adage seems to be very apt for Maheshwar Devta, a local deity of village Chagaon in district Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. The deity has taken to the streets to protest against the proposed 1000 MW Karcham-Wangtoo Hydropower Project.
Last month, the deity had summoned the state Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to his temple to hold “divine talks” on granting permission to the controversial Rs 7,760-crore project to be set up on River Sutlej. Thankfully, the CM didn’t oblige.
Thousands of tribal people and members of the Karcham-Wangtoo Sangarsh Samiti led by the deity himself, held a massive protest rally against the state government and the Jaypee Group of Industries on Thursday night, that carried on till Friday morning. The Jaypee Group is commissioning the project.
Meanwhile, the group has filed a civil suit in a local court against the samiti, alleging that the samiti was interfering in their work. However, Shyam Sunder Negi, president of the samiti, claims that the controversial forest land falling within the limits of Chagaon village has so far not been transferred to the group by the district administration. Investigations by a leading national daily also confirm Negi’s claim. The forest department is yet to give the final nod.
The deities have clashed with the state government and administration in the past as well and have been capturing newspaper headlines more often. Opposition by the local deities to the proposed prestigious ski-village in Manali to be constructed by the Fords, is well-known. Also during Dussehra, there have been reports of deities fighting amongst themselves to be on the right side of Lord Raghunath. HimVani has raised the issue in the past too, and prayed to the deities to retain their divinity .