Now, laser show on 2013 deluge, Congress objects
The laser will showcase ‘Aadi Anant Shiva’ -- a 25-minute show on Lord Shiva.
Five years after the Himalayan flash floods killed over 5,000 pilgrims in the Kedarnath shrine and valley, pilgrims this year will get a chance to witness what had happened during June 2013.
A laser show is planned for 7 days from the day portals of the shrine will be opened on April 29. The laser will showcase ‘Aadi Anant Shiva’ -- a 25-minute show on Lord Shiva.
It will also throw light on what happened when the deluge struck on June 16 and 17 in 2013.
According to the Rudraprayag district administration, the preparation for the show is in full swing which is being handled by a private firm.
For this, a large number of workers and equipment is reaching in the shrine. There is a buzz that a couple of union ministers could attend the inaugural function.
“So far, we have no communication on the movement of VIPs (from Delhi). The show will run for seven days and is expected to attract a large number of visitors,” Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal told HT over phone.
Kedarnath is among the four major shrines of Uttarakhand that attracts lakhs of pilgrims. The others being Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri.
The portals of the shrine remain open for the pilgrims six months in a year. The pilgrimage popularly known as Chardham began this Wednesday with the opening of Yamnotri and Gangotri shrines.
The Badrinath shrine will open a day after Kedarnath opens.
The Congress has objection on ‘politicising’ Kedarnath. Former chief minister Harish Rawat believes laser show should have been organised somewhere else and not in the shrine town. It is an insult to Lord Shiva, he added.
“Kedarnath is a Hindu shrine and regarded the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. And the BJP government intends to perform ‘tandav’ there. They are making a mockery of the religious practices,” the former chief minister alleged.
He added: “No one stopping them (government) from doing laser show but it should have been done in New Delhi or elsewhere.”
Since the 2013 disaster, the Kedarnath shrine and valley have remained in the focus and rather became a political football between the ruling BJP and the Congress.
The poor management of affairs during the disaster resulted in removal of then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna who was replaced with his archrival Harish Rawat in 2014.
The Rawat government had focused on reconstruction works that partially paid dividends to the Congress. The party though lost state assembly polls badly last year but managed to win the Kedarnath assembly seat.
Both the parties are for taking credit for the reconstruction works.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi trekked till Kedarnath three years ago in May 2015. After the BJP came to power last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited the shrine in Nov last year during the closing of the portals.
The PM grabbed the opportunity to connect with the pilgrims by addressing the crowd.
He also roped in corporate leaders for carrying out development in the shrine town. With run for general elections to be held next year, the BJP spin doctors think Kedarnath could be a game changer owing to the fact that shrine has special significance among the Hindu followers across the nation.
The ruling party denies that laser show has any political intentions. BJP spokesperson Virendra Bisht said: “Harish Rawat should not be taken seriously. He keeps on saying something or other which has no relevance.”
Interestingly, the Congress government had organised a musical concert of singer Kailash Kher in Kedarnath which ex-CM suggests was a ‘bhajan’ singing event.