'Ramar Sethu must be made a national monument'
NT Bureau | Thu, 22 May, 2008,03:14 PM
The controversial Sethusamudram canal project may for all practical purposes be on the backburner (thanks in the main to the Supreme Court suggestion to the Centre to look for alternative alignment and not harm the Ramar Sethu).
But the VHP, which is fighting to save the Ramar Sethu today reiterated that the agitations would continue till it (Sethu)was declared as a National Heritage Monument.
Ashok Singhal, International President of Vishwa Hindhu Parishad told newsmen here that the nation's vehement reaction against the central government's September 2007 affidavit questioning the historicity of Rama, Ramayana and Rama Sethu had forced it to withdraw the affidavit.
Ashok Singhal welcomed the recent direction of the Supreme Court on the Rama Sethu case as a 'landmark' one, as it (SC) had questioned the authenticity of the report of the eminent committee, which said that the Rama Sethu is a natural formation without making any archeological survey.
He demanded that the report submitted by the Committee of Eminent Persons must be withdrawn immediately and that the government must declare the Rama Sethu as a National Heritage Monument.
The 'Margdarshak Mandal' of Saints and Mahatmas would be meeting on 15 and 16 June during the 'Ganga Dasara' festival in Haridwar, where more than 50, 000 Sadhus are expected to decide the future course of action, he said.
Asked about his opinion on an alternative alignment he said that the government had no option but to scrap the project itself, as there was no possibility of an alternative alignment as per the government's expert opinions.
He also opined that the project itself is an American conspiracy, as it wanted to destroy the Thorium reserves along the southern coast of India, apart from making the historical waters shared by India and Sri Lanka as international waters through the implementation of the project.
On the internal security scenario, he said that, the whole nation was under the grip of Jihadis and demanded the immediate hanging of terrorist Mohammed Afzal Guru.
He also reiterated that the present UPA government and its supporters, the Left front have been indulging in vote bank politics through appeasement of minorities.
Asked about the Shiv Sena's opposition to the presence of Pakistani players in the ongoing IPL cricket tournament, he refrained from a direct reply but said that, both Pakistan and Bangladesh are our enemies and the Muslims of India must realise this fact in national interests.
He also felt that the so-called dialogue process would not build a 'Mountain of Peace' but a 'Mountain of Terror' and opined that, India must break all relationship with Pakistan and Bangladesh till they stop cross border terrorism and dismantle their terror infrastructures.
On Nepal, he said that the Himalayan Nation doesn't have a 'legal government' now and that the 'Maoists' do not believe in Democracy. He felt that a Maoist government in Nepal would not be good for India.
Earlier, Vedantham, the International Vice President of VHP said that Ashok Singhal is on a nationwide tour to meet the Peetathipathis, Madathipathis and Swamijis with regards to the forthcoming 'Ganga Dasara' festival to be conducted and celebrated in Haridwar.
RVP Maniyan State Vice President, VHP and Advocate Kuppuramu, National Secretary, Rameshwaram Rama Sethu Protection Movement were also present on the occasion.
Ram Sethu: VHP to hold 2-day meet on June 15-16
PTI | May 22, 2008 | 15:05 IST
With a view to strengthening its movement against the Rs 2,400 crore Sethusamudram Shipping Canal, involving dredging of the Ram Sethu (Adam's Bridge), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will organise a two-day national meeting of 'sadhus' to press the Centre to announce Ram Sethu as a national heritage of historical importance.
VHP international president Ashok Singhal told reporters in Chennai on Thursday that the meeting, to be held on June 15 and 16 at Haridwar, would also decide on a 'massive agitation' involving 50,000 people, in support of the Ram Sethu movement.
"The belief over Ram Sethu is centuries-old and has followers not only in India, but all across South East Asia, including Cambodia and Indonesia, among others. Followers of Lord Ram in these countries revere him as a historical figure," he said.
"The meeting will equivocally demand that the Centre announce Ram Sethu as a national monument," he said while welcoming a recent Supreme Court directive to the Centre on undertaking an archaelogical survey of the monument.
The Ram Sethu has been a bone of contention between the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, which wants the project at any cost, and those opposed to the dredging of it as they claim that the bridge was built by Lord Ram to cross over to Sri Lanka.
The issue had even led to the Tamil Nadu chief minister making some critical remarks about Lord Ram, wondering if he was a qualified engineer to have constructed a bridge.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard had also expressed their reservations over the project
While Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta had said that the project was 'viable' only for small ships, the Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral R F Contractor said there was a possibility of the channel being used by militant groups.
Recalling the Aracheological Survey of India affidavit in the Supreme Court doubting the existence of Lord Ram, Singhal claimed that this had resulted in even the Congress getting divided over the project.
Claiming the implementation of the project as a "great risk for India's security," he expressed apprehension that it could also destroy India's thorium deposits in the region.
The project envisages linking the Palk Bay in India and the Gulf of Mannar in Sri Lanka by creating a shipping channel through the shallow seas.
To a query on the current internal security of the nation, Singhal said that the entire country was "in the grip of terrorism."
Responding to a query on the recent mandate handed over to the Maoists in Nepal by the people, Singhal said, "It will be another dictatorship, since the Maoists don't believe in democracy."
This was the situation in China too, he said.
"The Maoists believe in bullets, not ballots," he added.