Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rama Setu: Centre says not a monument; agitations, demonstrations -- VHP

In an extraordinary travesty of justice and utter delinquency of executive responsibility under the Constitution, UOI Counsel tells the SC that UOI has decided that Rama Setu does not meet the criteria for declaring the Setu as a national monument under 1958 Act. I hope SC will go into the arbitrariness involved and double-standards used by UOI in coming to such conclusions without adherance to due process.

Every monument connected with the memory of Sri Rama is a national monument because Sri Rama is the very embodiment of national unity and identity. He is vigrahavaan dharmah. Setu is the living monument reminding everyone about the role it played in protecting dharma in one of the momentous events in human civilizational history.

If Majuli island, the larger river island of the world in Brahmaputra river can be deemed to be a World Heritage monument and proposal sent to UNESCO, why not a similar treatment to Rama Setu?

Madras HC judgement of 19 June 2007 in 11 pages elaborates on the string of evidences which led it to ask if ASI has conducted any studies on declaring Rama Setu as a monument. In the affidavit submitted earlier by UOI it was clearly stated that ASI has NOT conducted any such studies. Now, the learned counsel says that a determination has been made. It is remarkable that within a short period of time, without any transparency and consultation with the experts, such a determination has been made. This smacks of utter hypocrisy, utter disdain for due process under the rule of law and high-handedness on the part of the administrative machinery of the state. SC will hopefully call the UOI for contempt for court disregarding both Madras HC and SC directions.

UOI seems to think that sentiments of millions of people can be toyed with. VHP and Rameshwaram Rama Setu Raksha Manch have repeatedly declared that the protection movement will continue until the Rama Setu is declared an ancient monument and Rameshwaram a divyakshetram.

Hopefully, SC will take the same stand it took in jallikattu case and ensure that the state does not indulge in activities which hurt the sentiments of the community and result in an avoidable social upheaval. Hopefully, SC will appoint an advocate commission while declaring that the Rama Setu should be deemed a national monument analogous to the declaration made by Punjab High Court for Brahmasarovar.

Contempt with which UOI treats the Court directions and hindu sentiments is shocking, beyond belief. UPA may think that it can stay in satta by hook or crook. Not for long, UPA whose days are numbered as the citizens will awaken to render justice in this land of dharma.

Dharmo rakshati rakshitah.


Ramar Sethu doesn't fulfil criteria of national monument: Centre
New Delhi (PTI): The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it had already come to a conclusion that Ramar Sethu does not fulfil the criteria for being declared a national monument.
"As far as we are concerned, the stand of the Government is very clear that Rama Setu could not fulfil the criteria of national monument," senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the Centre, told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.
Further, on the issue of alternative alignment to avoid destruction of Ramar Sethu for the Sethusamudram project, he said, so far, he has not received any instruction from the Government.
Nariman said that would, most probably by evening or tomorrow, receive some instructions.
A day after making a strident argument that Ramar Sethu was destroyed by Lord Rama himself, the Centre had on July 24 changed tack and said that the viability of going ahead with the Sethusamudram project through an alternative alignment has been taken up at the "highest level".
"The suggestion for alternative alignment to avoid Ramar Sethu route has been taken as a special case. I have personally taken it at the highest level. It is being scientifically examined. I will come back to you by Tuesday or Wednesday," Nariman had told the Bench.

Centre’s bid to appease MK, says VHP
Tuesday July 29 2008 09:29 IST
Express News Service
COIMBATORE: The Centre’s assertion before the Supreme Court on July 22 that Lord Ram himself had destroyed the Ramar Sethu was to appease DMK leader M Karunanidhi whose party is a partner in the UPA coalition, said VHP international president Ashok Singhal, while talking to reporters here on Monday.

“Nowhere in the Kamba Ramayanam it is mentioned that Lord Rama himself destroyed the bridge,” Ashok Singhal said while replying to questions on the Union Government’s stand on the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP).

“Ramar Sethu will be protected at any cost,” VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia asserted.He informed that saints and Hindu leaders met at Hardwar recently to demand that the Sethu be declared a historical monument.

Singhal warned that if the Centre failed to declare Ramar Sethu as a national monument, VHP would launch a series of agitations and demonstrations.

On Ram temple

Singhal said construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Ram, was not possible through negotiations or the court of law.

Passing a legislation alone would be a solution to this issue, Singal said, and added, “In the event of BJP coming to power, the VHP would stress this matter.”

On this issue Togadia’s take was: “The temple will come up and we will see to it that such an Act is brought in the next Lok Sabha,” he said. (with inputs from PTI)

Government to clarify its stand on Ram Setu today
The Union Government will clarify its stand today before the Supreme Court on the fate of Ram Setu.

Senior Counsel F S Nariman had last week informed the three judge bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal that the Union Government was actively considering the suggestion of the Supreme Court to explore the possibility of taking some other route/alignment to save Ram Setu, also known as Adam's Bridge from being demolished.

The apex court had told the government that in-all eight alignments are there, which can be used to complete Rs 2500 crore Sethusamudram Canal Project without touching the 35 km long Ram Setu.

Justice Raveendran had also told the Government that little deviation from alignment six and a small damage to biosphere was desirable if it was necessary to protect the faith of millions of people.

Earlier the government had contended that according to Padma Purana and Kamban Ramayana, the Tamil version of Ramayana, have mentioned that Ram Setu was destroyed by Lord Ram himself while returning from Sri Lanka.

The claim of the government has been hotly contested and denied by religious scholars that there is no such mention in any of the holy scriptures.

Petitioners, which include former Union Minister Subramanium Swamy and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, are however, seeking declaration from the apex court that Ram Setu is a monument of national heritage and therefore cannot be destroyed.

The apex court has already restrained the authorities from damaging Ram Setu in any manner while carrying out the dredging activity.

Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister T R Baalu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi are facing contempt of court proceedings for backing Tamil Nadu bandh on October 1 last year, in violation of the Supreme Court order.

UNI http://www.indlawnews.com/Newsdisplay.aspx?56e3c65c-adf0-49af-b27d-6956accd75ec

Ram Sethu: Centre walks on tightrope
Sam Daniel
Tuesday, July 29, 2008, (Chennai)
The Union government is now considering the Supreme Court's advice to choose a different route for Sethusamudram project in a bid to save the Ram Sethu. And the environmentalists say that this may spell disaster.

The Ram the bridge is believed to have been built by Lord Ram's vanar sena on the Bay of Bengal. If the centre has its way, the stretch behind will be cut across to allow ships to sail through.

Devotees call it an outrage on their faith. They want the government to choose another route that will leave the bridge of faith intact. In fact, five of the six original proposals have left this bridge intact.

The devotees visiting Danushkodi are hopeful that Ram Sethu would be saved. The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider a new route, between the fourth and fifth alignments for the Sethusamudram channel.

According to the plan, the channel will be cut across the land near the famous Kodandaramar temple, leaving Ram Sethu intact. The Centre is expected to give its reply in a few days.

"Destroying Ram Sethu is like piercing the hearts of Ram devotees. Even if the project is economically profitable, the right thing is to take the other route," said a devotee.

It was the Ram Sethu that saved us from the tsunami.

Devotees believe that the chain of limestone shoals was built by Ram's army of monkeys to rescue his wife Sita from Ravana in Sri Lanka.

The Sethusamudram channel is worth Rs 2400 crore. It aims to connect the east and west coast of India for ships that go around Sri Lanka.

But environmentalists are up in arms. They say the route will be an ecological disaster due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

This national biosphere is home to over 3000 marine species including corals and is just 10 km away from the new alignment. Activists say this would threaten the very survival of this reserve.

"Corals are schedule one. It means that they have the same status as that of a tiger," said Sudarshan Rodriguez, an environmentalist.

With the ruling DMK determined to see the project through, if accepted the proposed change in alignment, may almost double the cost and delay it by a few years. For the Centre, it is a tightrope walk.


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