'Centre's affidavit on Ramsethu insult to civilisational heritage'

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) The BJP today described the Centre's affidavit before the Supreme Court on the Ramsethu as a crude attempt to insult the cultural and civilisational heritage and hurt the sentiments of millions of Hindus.

BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad said the affidavit filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on behalf of the Union Government before the apex court goes to the extent of dubbing Valmiki Ramayan as mythology and Ram and Sita ''fictional characters''.

''Hitherto we were under the impression that it was a 'solo play' of Shipping Minister T R Baalu but this affidavit proves that it is an organised attempt to insult the faith and beliefs of the majority community,'' Mr Prasad said.

''We want to ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if the Congress-led coalition would take the same attitude towards the faith and beliefs of other communities like it had done with Hindus and their religious texts.

''This is a classic example of appeasement politics. It is an attempt to stave off the offence caused to the Muslim community by the Government's stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal agreement,'' he claimed.

He said this government is led by a party which amended the Constitution on the issue of Shah Bano just because the minority community wanted it.

Mr Prasad clarified that the BJP was not against the Sethusamudram Project, if Ramsethu was retained as a heritage spot by carrying out the shipping canal project with an alternative alignment. ''Exercising this option was also in the interest of ecology and national security,'' he added.

He said the affidavit admitted that the ASI had not done indepth study of the Ramsethu, the bridge across the sea in Rameshwaram, in Tamil Nadu now under the sea, but still it had the audacity to come to a conclusion that the bridge was not man-made.

There had been written accounts of numerous visitors to the sub-continent at least for the last eight centuries acknowledging the existence of Ramsethu, he claimed.

Asked if the BJP would make raise the issue during elections, Mr Prasad said the National Executive had already passed a resolution to communicate its view on the matter. ''For us this is not merely an election issue,'' he said.

He thanked the peaceful protests held throughout the country in support of retaining the mythical bridge.

UNI

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