Centre to file affidavit sans controversial paras about Ram Sethu

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (UNI) The Centre will tomorrow file a supplementary affidavit in the Supreme Court withdrawing the controversial paragraphs in the counter affidavit of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about Ram Sethu and the existence of characters and events depicted in Ramayana, government sources said today.

Rattled by the adverse impact and publicity resulting from the controversial paragraphs in the affidavit, the Union Government has decided to file a supplementary affidavit withdrawing the controversial paragraphs No five, six and 20 in the counter affidavit of ASI, which was filed yesterday in the Supreme Court.

The apex court will hear tomorrow the petition seeking declaration from the court that Ram Sethu is a protected and ancient monument and must not be demolished to complete the construction of Sethusamudram canal linking Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu with Sri Lanka to reduce the navigation time for ships.

Earlier, the apex court had stayed the demolition of Ram Sethu till September 14 on a petition filed by former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy.

In his petition, Dr Swamy had alleged that the Government was going to demolish 35-km-long Adam's bridge also known as Ram Sethu despite experts having suggested six alternative routes for completion of the Sethusamudram project. Even the opinion of environmentalists groups have been ignored both by the Central as well as the Tamil Nadu government.

The Government has been under severe criticism after it filed the controversial affidavit saying that there is no historical or scientific evidence to prove the existence of characters and events mentioned in holy epic Ramayana and Ram Sethu was only a geological formation and not man-made.

Other petitioners have challenged the demolition of the Sethu on the grounds that it has been revered by millions of Hindus across the globe for centuries who believe that the Sethu was constructed by Lord Rama with the help of 'Vanar Sena' of Lord Hanuman to reach Lanka to free his wife Sita from the captivity of demon king Ravana.

Controversy surrounding Ramsethu took a new turn with the ASI putting a question mark on the very existence of mythological characters mentioned in Ramayana through an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.

ASI in its affidavit filed through ASI director (monuments) C Dorjee had stated, ''The petitioners while seeking relief have primarily relied upon the contents of the Valimiki Ramayana, the Ram Charit Manas by Tulsidas and mythological texts, which formed an important part of ancient Indian literature, but which cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of the event, depicted therein.'' Whereas it is submitted that the ASI is aware of and duly respects the deep religious import bestowed upon these texts by the Hindu community across the globe, it is also submitted that the study of human history, which is the primary object of the ASI, like other sciences and fields of study, must be carried out in a scientific manner using available technological aids, and its findings must be based on tangible material evidence.'' UNI

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