Ramar Sethu: VHP to intensify stir

via Agencies published on August 27, 2007

Rameswaram: As part of its intensified movement to protect Ramar Sethu, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) would hold road blockades across the country on September 12 seeking a change in the alignment of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP).

“Ramar bridge is a heritage and holy site, we should not allow government to touch it… We have started the agitation even as the government is preparing to blast the holy bridge,” VHP leader Praveen Togadia said here yesterday.

Whether it was pyramids of Egypt or Great Wall of China, people of the respective countries would not allow their governments to damage them.

Stating that VHP was not against the SSCP, he claimed that the project could be completed by choosing another alignment, which was cheaper too, without damaging the Ramar Sethu.

“This (present) alignment has been chosen deliberately to hurt the Hindu sentiments, and Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and Shipping Minister T R Baalu should take complete responsibility for the same,” he said.

Ramar Sethu contained vast amounts of thorium, which could be used to generate four lakh MW of power, he claimed.

“If the bridge is intact, the state (Tamil Nadu) could get more revenue. They could also mine thorium and become richer.” He also referred to a report submitted by an expert committee in Sri Lanka which said that Talaimannar, Trincomallee and Rameswaram would face severe drinking water shortage if the project was taken up.

The issue could be taken up with the international court if the government went ahead with the project and broke the bridge, he said.

“Why should they break the link (Ramar Sethu) between India and Sri Lanka, a friendly country,” Togadia asked.

He also claimed both Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka were opposed to the SSCP.

“The government might have to face the ire of the Hindu community, if it destroyed the holy places of Hindus to please the vote bank of Muslims,” he added.

Hindu Munnani leader Ramagopalan, who addressed conference and rally attended by around 25,000 people from all over south India, said the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple’s base might be affected if the explosions were carried out to break the Ramar Sethu.

Besides, the fishermen would find it difficult to net fish.

Earlier, thousands of people participated in the Mahayagnam and Abhishekam and offered worship to Lord Rama, praying for the “victory” of the peaceful agitation against damage to Ramar Sethu.

Sadhvi Ritambara, S Vedantham, all-India executive president of the VHP, and Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy were among those who participated in the yagnam.

The Ramar Sethu movement’s central body would meet in Delhi on August 30 to decide on future course of action.

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