Friday, May 16, 2008

Scrap Setu project, else face nation's wrath: VHP to UPA Govt.

Scrap Setu Project, else face nation's wrath: VHP to UPA Government

B K Upmanyu, 16 May 2008, Friday

Ram Sethu continues to evoke responses. This time it is the VHP. The organisation's international president has warned the government against going ahead with the project. He has also accused the government of hurting the sentiments of the Hindus.

Singhal warns government against Sethu project B K Upmanyu 16 May 2008, Friday
ASHOK SINGHAL, international president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), today (May 16) said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has insulted the sentiments of the people by negating the very existence of Ram and Dhanushkoti, the place from where the bridge to Sri Lanka was constructed.

He said that Ram Sethu was constructed to kill demon Ravana and added that the government should desist from its attempts to demolish the structure. The VHP leader said that questioning Rama’s divine status was like humiliating the sentiments of the Hindus.

Speaking at a three day seminar organised by Jagdev Chand Memorial Research Centre, at Neri near Hamirpur, Singhal said that the VHP and the other right-wing organisations have time and again conveyed to the government that they are not against the Sethu Samudram Channel Project (SSCP), but are opposed to any efforts aimed at tampering with the ancient Indian history.

He said that the Chennai High Court had asked the Union government to requisition the services of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain the existence of the man-made bridge between India and Sri Lanka. However, the government has taken the matter to the Supreme Court, he said.
“The Central government is bent upon creating an artificial canal through the Ram Sethu despite the fact that there are five alternate routes through the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Munnar,” he added.

The firebrand leader warned the government that the people of the country would not tolerate any damage to the bridge. He asked Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh not to succumb to the pressure from the UPA ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagan (DMK), to go ahead with the project.

“Government will face the consequences if it does not scrap the project,” he said adding that the PM should not think about the survival of his government. “If he scraps the project, he will get good wishes from crores of Hindus worldwide.”

Singhal lamented that the percentage of Hindus in the country was coming down. He alleged that the Congress, which claims itself to be a secular party, was becoming a Muslim party and all the powers were being extended to Muslims.

The international president of the VHP strongly criticised the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her family for promoting Christianity in India. “The way Rahul Gandhi has been meeting the downtrodden proves that he is hand-in-glove with the Christians, propagating their mission in the country,” he alleged.

The VHP leader said that those, who are bent upon destroying the bridge have no right to stay in the country. He also appealed to all the political parties - irrespective of their vote bank, caste, region, language - to come forward in support of the Ram Sethu and also support the reconstruction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

He further added that the verdict of courts in the Ayodhya case would not decide the fate of the temple as people had been waiting for 60 years for the verdict and could not wait any further.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Sethusamudram case: K.Parasaran’s submissions
Parasaran began with the Preamble to the Constitution, which proclaimed its resolve to secure to all its citizens, liberty of belief, faith and worship, among other things. He said Ram Sethu is considered by large sections of believers as holy and sacred place. To interfere or destroy even part of the said causeway would be an interference with the right of liberty of belief, faith and worship. Splitting the word Ramayana as Ram and ayana, he said the latter denotes the path, which the former took, and it is not just a story. In Hinduism, he said feet is considered holy. That is why he suggested Ram Sethu is not just any other Hill or river, which may equally be considered holy. He asked, “Is there a compelling necessity to cause this wound to the belief of the people?”

In pluralist secular country, in situations of conflict between different facets of public interest, an attempt should be made to so mould the situation and interpret law to bring about concordance and not discordance, he said. According to him, the present case involves two aspects of public interest, claim of right to religious belief, faith and worship on the one hand, and the claim of economic and commercial development in the matter of providing convenient passage for ships. Every attempt should be made to accommodate both the aspects of public interest which would be in conformity with the principles of concordance in pluralist society. If both cannot be accommodated the Court must weigh one competing aspect of public interest against the other, and decide where the balance lies. In doing so, it will ensure that the constitutionally protected fundamental rights are not violated. The Court will have to take into account the nature of the injury to the public interest in deciding the conflict, he submitted.

In a lighter vein, Justice Raveendran asked how was it that Parasaran argued against the Government, when in every other case, including the OBC quota, he argued for the Government. Another petitioner in this case, Subramanian Swamy got up and said it was Lord Rama who got him this side.

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