After the flash floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on 7th February, there are many speculations going on for the reason behind that. One of the most discussed among the locals and villagers around village Raini is the ‘nuclear device’ one.
This might sound like a conspiracy theory but villagers think it has something to do with a nuclear device that got lost in Nanda Devi mountains way back in 1965.
1965 expedition: A lost nuclear device
In 1965, a joint expedition to the Nanda Devi mountain was carried out by India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The expedition was tasked to install a nuclear-powered surveillance device on the summit of Nanda Devi in order to keep a tab on China’s activities.
However, the expedition had to be stopped midway after mountaineers were caught in a blizzard. The team left the equipment at the base of the mountain and returned in order to save lives.
The team went back to the mountain next year but could not trace the equipment, including the special container carrying the nuclear fuel consisting of seven plutonium capsules
Kartik Singh (92), a resident of Raini village claims that he was part of the 1965 expedition to install the ‘machine’, says to Indian Express that, “I used to work as a porter then. Some people asked me to carry a packed, concealed load. I agreed. We went to a place called ‘Camp IV’. Later, a blizzard hit us and we decided to leave the device and return to safety.”
Captain MS Kohli (retired) who was then leading this expedition said that the equipment, including the nuclear device, is “very unlikely to emanate heat or blow up” on its own.
The device is said to have a life of around 100 years out of which 45 are still left. However, many believe the story is too far from reality and even a myth now.
Mohan Singh, another resident of Raini village who has taken part in many expeditions in Nanda Devi glaciers said, “I don’t think this flash flood is a result of any device. I don’t believe in this story. To me these are just rumours which started at some point in time and became a myth eventually.”