Residents of the village of Raini, located on the foothills of the Himalayas in India, have for generations believed that nuclear devices were buried on the mountain’s snow-capped peak.
Village residents say the floods in Uttarakhand, in which more than 50 people lost their lives this month, were caused by the “explosion” of these devices.
However, scientists say the flood was caused by a ruptured glacier.
Sangram Singh Rawat, the village headman of the 250-house village, like other village residents, does not find this explanation convincing and says, “How does the glacier break in the middle of winter? The government must investigate the matter and find nuclear devices.”
‘SPYING OPERATION AT HIGH ALTITUDE’
Raini residents’ fears go back to the 1960s, when the United States installed nuclear fuel-powered devices in some points of the Himalayas to monitor China’s nuclear tests as part of an agreement with India.
China made its first nuclear test in 1964.
Pete Takeda, who frequently writes on this subject in the US-published Rock and Ice Magazine, says that “Cold War paranoia was at its peak. It was the years when all plans, investments and roads were permissible”.
In October 1965, a group of American and Indian climbers set out to place seven plutonium capsules and a 57-pound tracking device at the summit of Nanda Devi’s 7,816 meters high.
This is India’s second highest peak and is on the Chinese border.
‘SNOWSTORM IS OUT, MOUNTAINERS LEAVE THE DEVICES AND BACK BACK’
However, the sudden blizzard prevented the climbers from reaching the summit. Deciding to return, the climbers left their load, consisting of a 1.8-meter antenna, two radio devices, a battery and plutonium capsules, and returned.
At that time, a magazine wrote that these devices were left in a nook in a nook.
“Otherwise, many climbers would have died,” says Manmohan Singh Kohli, a prominent mountaineer in the border guard who led the Indian team.
The following spring climbers re-climbed to the same point in search of devices. But the devices were gone.
After this incident, exploration climbs were made to Nanda Devi to find lost materials for half a century. Nobody knows what happened to the devices today.
‘PLUTONIUM MAYBE MIXED WITH GANJ WATERS’
Takeda wrote, “The plutonium capsules are probably buried in the mountain glacier. Perhaps they have become flour-crumbled and these powders are mixing into the Ganges River.
However, scientists say this is exaggerated.
Plutonium is the main ingredient in the atomic bomb. Plutonium batteries use a different isotope known as Plutonium-238, with a half-life of 88 years.
‘MOUNTAINS PAINTED THEIR FACES IN ORDER NOT TO BE SURPRISED’
British travel writer Hugh Thompson writes in his book “Nanda Devi: A Journey to the Last Sanctuary” (Nanda Devi: A Journey to the Last Sanctuary, “American mountaineers are given the task of installing the devices to” brown “their faces by applying a lotion produced in India to avoid suspicion of the villagers. .
Climbers were asked to tell villagers that they were investigating the effects of low oxygen on human health, according to Thompson. Porters carrying nuclear materials were also told that they contained some kind of treasure, probably gold.
‘ACCELERATED NUCLEAR SPYING TRAINING AT CIA BASE’
Climbers were trained in accelerated nuclear espionage at a CIA base in North Carolina before climbing to the top, according to the American magazine Outside.
The CIA’s failed operation remained a secret in India until 1978.
The Washington Post newspaper took action with the news of Outside at that time and wrote that the CIA used a group of mountaineers, including those who went to Everest at that time, in an espionage operation, and that these people were assigned to place nuclear devices on two summits in the Himalayas.
According to the newspaper, a former CIA official said the first climb in 1965 failed and the devices were lost, while the second climb two years later was “partially successful”.
The third attempt, in 1967, had a relatively easy task this time.
This time, the devices would be placed on the Nanda Kot summit, which has a height of 6,861 meters. The mission was successful.
The 14 American climbers who participated in the operation were paid a thousand dollars a month in return for their three years of service.
In April 1978, then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai declared in a speech in parliament that a “high-level” agreement was made between India and the United States in the 1960s to install nuclear devices in Nanda Devi.
Deasi did not give any information about how successful this operation was.
‘CIA POISONES OUR WATERS’
In the declassified US State Department documents of that period, it is mentioned that a group of 60 people protested “CIA’s operations in the country” in front of the US Embassy in Delhi, and the activists chanted “CIA Get Out of India”, “CIA Poisons Our Water”. .
No one still knows what happened to nuclear devices in the Himalayas today.
“The device was dragged and buried in a glacier. God knows what consequences this will have,” said Jim McCarthy, an American mountaineer, to Takeda.
“I’m neither regretful nor happy. I just followed orders.”
Climbers said a small station in the village of Raini regularly tests the sand and river waters in the area, but the results of these tests are unknown.
“Until plutonium is thoroughly degraded – which may take centuries – it will remain a threat that could infiltrate the snow layer in the Himalayas and into the Indian water system through the tributaries of the Ganges,” says Outside.
I asked Captain Kohli, who is now 89, if he regrets taking part in these operations. “I have no regrets or happiness. I just followed orders,” said Kohli.
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