Suspend Sethu project works: Dayananda Saraswathi

via www.newindpress.com published on April 16, 2007


CHENNAI: Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, head of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, has urged the Central Government to immediately suspend the ongoing works on Sethu Samudram project to prevent any damage to the historic Ramar Sethu alias Adam’s Bridge submerged between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka.

In an interview with this website’s newspaper here on Saturday, the Swami regretted that works on the project were continuing despite an assurance from Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu that the holy bridge would not be touched during the dredging works.

“The Acharya Sabha and the four Sankaracharyas are not opposing the Sethu Samudram Project. We are only against destroying Ramar Sethu,” he clarified. A delegation of sadhus and archaeologists had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently to express concern over the damage being caused to the bridge.

The Prime Minister had then arranged a meeting for the delegation with Baalu.

“At that meeting, Baalu categorically assured us that Ramar Sethu would not be touched. He also assured that he will arrange for a visit of Sadhus and the archaeologists to the SSP site soon. But for the past three weeks, there had been no communication from the Minister,” the Swami said.

“If the works continue at the present site, we apprehend that it may become a fait accompli for Ramar Sethu. We cannot do anything thereafter,” he argued.

Asked why the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha has raised the issue only now, he said, “When the Sethu project was announced, we never thought that they will destroy the bridge.”

Swami Dayananda Saraswathi also presented three alternative alignments, which could be implemented without damaging the Ramar Sethu. One of the plans would involve lesser investment and time.

Asserting that the Ramar Sethu exists, he said the bridge was used by the people till 15th century. Even researchers had proved that the bridge was man-made and it might have gone under water due to some natural calamity such as cyclone.

Even now, the bridge could be seen within three-feet deep at some places and 10-feet deep at some other places.

To substantiate his view, the Swami said that in 1803, the then Madras Presidency under the British Raj published a Gazette containing a glossary of words and the first word was Adam’s Bridge and the Saraswathi Mahal Library has got a copy of the Gazettes.

The Gazette says, “Mohammedans called this bridge after Adam, who came down here after being expelled from the heaven and went to Ceylone using this bridge. On the other hand, the Hindus believe that the bridge was constructed by Lord Rama. Now NASA pictures were also available to prove that the Ramar Sethu exists.”

The Acharya Sabha is organising a conference on April 18 at Rameswaram to protect the Ramar Sethu.

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