On Friday, the central government withdrew the two affidavits submitted by ASI in the Supreme Court. In one affidavit, the ASI had claimed that there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish the existence of Lord Ram and linked events. The ASI had said that the Setu (Ram Setu) was a natural not a man-made bridge.
On this affidavit submitted by ASI in SC, the BJP, VHP and other saffron parties started staging protests across the nation alleging the Congress party hurting the religious sentiments of majority in the country.
Later, the law minister made a statement that the government did a mistake and it would take back the affidavit from the court.
On Friday, the Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balkrishnan, allowed the Union government to withdraw both the affidavits. The SC bench said the August 31 interim order issued by the court that had stayed the construction in Rama Setu area, would continue.
The center also said that it would examine the whole matter linked with the Sethusamudram project and told the court to grant three month’s time. The Court later decided to hear the matter in the first week of January, 2008.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the Bench:
The Central Government has total respect for all religions, and Hinduism in particular, in the context of the present case. The Central Government is alive and conscious of religious sensibilities, including the unique, ancient and holy text of Ramayana.
Further, the SC Bench took on record Subramaniam’s submission that the government would consider the suggestions and representations of all the petitioners in a true democratic spirit on the mechanism to clear the Setusamudram project.