Rama Setu: GoM fails to reach accord

Rama Setu: GoM fails to reach accord on affidavit, SC should name Centre for contempt of court, stay the disastrous Setu channel project

Centre is playing games with Hindu sentiments and with the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Ever since the Madras HC order of 19 June 2007, Centre has dodged a reply about declaring Rama Setu as a heritage monument. If the UPA has a great concern for Bhagwan Srirama as evidenced by repeated speeches of Ms. Sonia Gandhi in Gujarat, what is the problem in declaring Rama Setu as rashtriya dharohar (National Monument)?

It is shocking that irresponsible statements should be made in the Hon’ble Court without reading the 8000 pages of evidence submitted on over 150 topics related to the project disaster.

Who has to act with responsibility? The judicial system or the governments?  Hurting the sentiments of Hindus and other citizens worldwide seems to have become a pastime with many. It is time to call a stop to this. kalyanaramanPosted: Wed, Jan 30 2008. 11:42 PM IST

GoM on Ram Sethu fails to reach accord on affidavit

The bridge has been at the centre of controversy with some right-wing Hindu organizations saying it would destroy the walkway, believed to have been built by Hindu god Ram

Mumbai: A group of ministers (GoM), tasked to draft an affidavit explaining the cultural significance of Adam’s Bridge (also known as Ram Sethu), met in New Delhi on Wednesday but failed to reach an agreement on the issue.

The bridge—an ancient coral walkway linking India and Sri Lanka—has been at the centre of controversy with some right-wing Hindu organizations saying the proposed Sethusamudram project would destroy the walkway, believed by them to have been built by Hindu god Ram. The Rs2,600 crore project envisages dredging the walkway to reduce sailing time for ships.

The GoM—comprising external affairs minister and the government’s chief negotiator Pranab Mukherjee, minister of culture Ambika Soni, and minister of shipping T.R. Baalu—was formed last week to resolve differences between two separate affidavits drafted by the ministries of culture and shipping. The affidavit has been sought by the Supreme Court.

Baalu, one of the staunchest supporters of the project, is in favour of taking a strong stand against the Hindu protesters. But his cabinet colleague Ambika Soni believes the move will further alienate Hindus in north India, and could cost the Congress party dear in five states where elections are due later this year.

The apex court has been awaiting this affidavit since 14 September, when the government withdrew its original statement and asked for three months to study the issue.

The Madras high court had originally asked the government to file an affidavit explaining the cultural significance of the Ram Sethu. The court had also asked if the government had conducted any archaeological study of the bridge. A three-judge bench of the court had upheld its order.

Litigant Subramanian Swamy says the government may refer this investigation to the National Heritage Commission, which would “put the project in cold storage for all practical purposes.” Calls to the ministry of culture and shipping went unreturned.

Priyanka P. Narain

http://www.livemint.com/2008/01/30234256/GoM-on-Ram-Sethu-fails-to-reac.html

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