New Delhi, Oct 14 : The Congress-led UPA government has filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court on the controversial Ram Sethu issue.
In the 100-page affidavit, reportedly filed on October 11, the Centre claims that Ram Sethu, or Adam's Bridge as it is popularly known, is not a place of worship as being claimed by many religious groups and political parties.
The Centre further says that Ram Sethu is not an integral part of Hinduism and repeated its earlier claim that it no longer exists.
According to the affidavit, which contains replies to various petitions filed in favour of the Ram Sethu, including by J Jayalalitha's AIADMK, Lord Ram had himself destroyed the bridge while returning from Ravan's Lanka (present day Sri Lanka).
Intriguingly, the Centre, which has formed a six-member committee headed by noted environmentalist Rajendra Pachouri to explore the new alignment but chose to file the latest affidavit even before the committee could come out with its findings.
Moreover, the development came days after the Centre set in motion the process of examining an alternative alignment of the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP) following a directive from the Supreme Court.
In the first week of this month, a team of engineers had commenced a survey of the area to work out an alternative alignment.
A total of six alignments were suggested since the project was conceived. Political parties, including the BJP and Shiv Sena, stoutly opposed one alignment chosen as it cut through the Ram Sethu.
In July also, the Centre had told the SC that it had concluded Ram Sethu does not fulfil the criteria for being declared a national monument.