Centre hints at paring down Ram Setu

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New Delhi, Jul 24 (UNI) The Centre today sent clear signals of paring down Ram Setu while completing Sethusamudram Canal, when it informed the Supreme Court that it is actively considering the suggestion of the apex court to take an alternative route.

It told the court that the government will clarify its stand on the issue on July 29.

Senior counsel F S Nariman, appearing for the Centre, told a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Jusices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal that he has taken up the suggestion of the court at the highest level with the government and will clarify its stand whether it is feasible to take an alternative route instead of going through alignment 6 which necessitates the demolition of Ram Setu, also known as Adam's Bridge.

Justice Raveendran yesterday told the government to do a balancing act to preserve and protect the faith of millions of people even if little damage is done to the biosphere.

The court had also suggested to the government that little diversion in the route would be desirable instead of hurting the religious sentiments and faith of millions of people who believe that the 35-km-long Ram Setu was constructed by Lord Rama with the help of his 'Vanar Sena' (army of monkeys) to reach Sri Lanka to secure the release of his wife Sita from the captivity of Demon King Ravana.

Mr Nariman, however, contended before the court that Ram Setu was destroyed by Lord Rama himself while returning from Sri Lanka after killing Ravana and had referred to Padampuran and Kamban Ramayana, written by Tamil saint Kamban, and submitted before the court that this sect has been mentioned in both Padam Puran and Kamban Ramayana.

Mr Nariman also contended that the government was not demolishing Ram Setu as it does not exist in the first place.

Mr Nariman also contended today before the court that courts cannot interfere in policy matters and in matters in which courts do not have the requisite expertise and requested the court not to interfere in the Rs 2,500 crore Sethusamudram project, which will provide a link between Rameshwaram coast and Sri Lanka.

Earlier also, the UPA government had to withdraw its controversial affidavit from the Supreme Court under public pressure in which the government had questioned the very existence of all events and characters of Ramayana, including that of Lord Rama himself.

Tamilian scholars have, however, refuted the claim of the Centre that Ram Setu was destroyed by Lord Rama himself.

According to these scholars, there is no mention either in Padam Puran or in Kamban Ramayana and on the other hand, these holy scriptures described Lord Rama telling his wife Sita to see the beauty of Ram Setu while returning from Sri Lanka in Pushpak Viman.

The hearing of the case will resume on July 29.

UNI SC BDP KN2151

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