No mining will be allowed on the hill where Lord Ram is believed to have taken a pledge to kill demons, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has declared. A huge controversy began after the Satna district administration scheduled a public hearing for September 30 — mandatory under environment laws — for a nod to mining Siddha Pahad.
While geologists expected to find bauxite and other minerals, ‘Aranya Kand’ of Hindu epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’ says hills in the region have skeletons of seers killed by demons; and this is where Lord Ram, during his exile of 14 years, resolved to kill all demons.
The mining plan led to a disquiet within the ruling BJP too, besides jibes from the Congress, which today said “truth has won” and “the government has accepted its mistake” after former chief minister Kamal Nath warned of protests.
कांग्रेस इस पर चुप नहीं बैठेगी , जन आस्थाओं के विरोधी इस निर्णय के विरोध में हम सड़क से सदन तक लड़ाई लड़ेंगे और भगवान श्री राम की यादों से जुड़े इस पहाड़ को नष्ट व ख़त्म नहीं होने देंगे।
शिवराज सरकार ने अपनी गलती स्वीकारी है और कहा है कि यहाँ खनन नहीं होगा।
यह सत्य की जीत है।
— Narendra Saluja (@NarendraSaluja) September 2, 2022
Chief Minister Chouhan’s statement read: “Siddha Pahad in Satna is a centre of our faith and reverence. The sanctity of this place will be kept intact. Mining here will not take place at any cost. Instructions have been issued to the district administration.” He tweeted it, too, in Hindi.
सिद्धा पहाड़, सतना जैसे अमूल्य सांस्कृतिक धरोहर स्थान जो हमारे आस्था और श्रद्धा के केंद्र हैं, यहां की पवित्रता को अक्षुण्य रखा जाएगा । यहां उत्खनन किसी कीमत पर नहीं होगा। सतना जिला प्रशासन को निर्देश दे दिए गए है।
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) September 2, 2022
The hill is on the long-proposed ‘Ram Van Gaman Path’, a religious-tourism circuit that would trace what’s considered Lord Ram’s time in the forests.
The state government recently sought Rs 500 crore from the central government for it.
When the state pollution control board in Satna issued the advertisement for a pre-mining public hearing recently, Kamal Nath said, “After playing politics in the name of Lord Ram, the BJP is now working in a well-planned manner to destroy remains related to Him.”
BJP MLA Narayan Tripathi too wrote to Shivraj Chouhan.
“I contacted your office to seek a meeting with you to discuss this urgent issue, but couldn’t get the time from there,” he said, “I request you to order a stop on allowing mining on the hill and also declare entire religious circuit related to Lord Ram’s life in Chitrakoot as ‘No Mining Zone’.”
He added, “Otherwise, I’ll march along with local residents from Sarbhanga Ashram to Siddha Pahad.”