Was there any Setu (Bridge) or not? If yes, is that Setu natural or man-made? There are so many questions regarding the existence of the Setu, what saffron leaders call as Ram Setu. BJP, VHP claim that the Setusamudram project, proposed by the government of India, would destroy the mythical ‘Ram Setu’ connecting India to Sri Lanka.
The Sethusamudram Project proposes linking the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping canal. The logic behind making the canal that it would provide a continuous navigable sea route around the peninsula.
On the other hand, saffron parties such as the BJP and the VHP have opposed the government proposed project with the logic that it would destroy the Ram Setu or Lord Rama’s celebrated path of rocks to ancient Lanka.
Some people, who favored the Sethusamudram project, said that the sand and bars at the bottom of the straits are actually a natural phenomenon. This may not be a man-made structure.
While, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has informed the Supreme Court the story of the existence of any man-made bridge is baseless and not scientifically established anymore. There is no any evidence that the bridge was built by Lord Ram’s monkey army or the events of the Ramayana ever had happened.
The ASI later said that it couldn’t declare Ram Setu as national monument because of no established scientific evidence that might prove the existence of the characters or the events of the Ramayana.
It said that the Ram Setu is not a man made structure but just a natural formation of sand. On the other hand, the BJP blamed the UPA government of blasphemy when the ASI told SC that there was no historical evidence of the existence of Ram Setu.
BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra said:
This is sheer blasphemy. It’s an insult to the Hindu faith. We also wonder why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have been going for the Dussehra festival if their government does not believe in Lord Ram’s existence.
Today, the government, in its affidavit, says there is no evidence to prove Lord Rama built the bridge or that Lord Ram ever existed. This is an attack on Hindu sentiments, a ferocious one.
The BJP and the VHP have strongly opposed the Sethusamudram project by saying that it would be dangerous for the undersea bridge that was believed to be built by monkey army of Lord Ram.
On Wednesday, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists stooped the daily traffic movement and railways movement across the country. They had some clash with the police at many places.
They protested against the government’s statement made before the court and questioning the existence on the authenticity of the Ramayan events. They had called the blockage for three-hour in many parts of Mumbai, Delhi, north and northwest India just to register their protest against the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project.
BJP Leader ID Swami warned the UPA of dire consequences and said:
This agitation is a warning to the UPA; if the Government doesn’t listen the results will be dangerous. Hindus are opposed to the demolition of Ram Setu. The ‘sacred Setu’ should not be touched, as it is associated with sentiments of Hindus.
The Supreme Court has asked the centre to stop all the construction works of dredging in the Ram Setu region to build the canal proposed under the Sethusamudram project till the next date of hearing. The SC has decided to hear the matter on Friday.
Some believed facts about the Ram Setu-
# Ram Setu is a mythical bridge existed southeast of Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu that links India with the Talaimanar coast of Sri Lanka.
# Rs 2087-crore Sethusamudram project would build a canal that would go from the west coast of India to the east coast without circling Sri Lankan territory. Hindu Brigade say that the project would damage the Ram Setu.
# The work on the project has been started since July 2005.
# According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ram’s monkey army had built the Ram Setu to cross over to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita.
# The UPA Government says the Setu is actually a natural built by 30-km-long chain of sand banks.
# The Supreme Court has stopped the government from continuing any construction work in the project till further hearing.
# The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project would reduce the trip of sea between India and Sri Lanka and would cut costs for freight traffic.