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No proof Ram existed: Govt
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 12
In an affidavit having the potential of creating political controversy on the issue of Ram Sethu, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in its affidavit to the Supreme Court in the Sethusamudram project case has not only dismissed the existence of any man-made bridge between India and Sri Lanka but even questioned the existence of the characters of Ramayana.

Director (monuments) of the ASI C. Dorjee, in the affidavit, stated that the mythological texts of Ramayana formed an important part of ancient Indian literature, “but which cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters, or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein.”

The affidavit was filed in response to a Supreme Court notice issued to the Centre on a bunch of petitions filed before the apex court and in the Madras High Court.

The ASI stated that it had though not conducted any deep study about the underwater formation known as “Adam’s Bridge” believed to be “Ram Sethu” by the Hindus and the evidence available so far, “reasonably concluded that the formation…is not a man-made structure rather a natural formation made up of shoals/sand bars, which possessed their particular shape and form due to several millenia of wave action and sedimentation."

It further said any study relating to any man-made monuments must be carried out in a scientific manner and its findings must be based on tangible material evidence.

“…mere named reference cannot conclusively prove the fact that the formation is actually a man-made structure… no such human remains have been discovered at the site of the formation,” the affidavit said.

Regarding latest NASA pictures on the images of Adams Bridge, the ASI director claimed that conclusions of these images had been “misread and misinterpreted” by several petitioners who have approached the court to project it as Ram Sethu or a man-made structure.

“The US agency has publicly clarified that although these images were taken by its spacecraft, it is not responsible for any interpretations made by third parties of such images,” the affidavit said.

Even NASA has referred to the Adams Bridge formation as a “tombolo”, which might be described as a deposition landform such as a sand bar or a sand-spit. It normally formed a narrow piece of land between an island or offshore rock and a mainland shore, or between two islands or offshore rocks, said the ASI while dismissing the formation of “no archaeological interest” for it.

Unless the parameters laid for scientific study of any structure to prove it to be a man-made were met to the satisfaction of the ASI, “the question of construing Adams Bridge as an ancient monument and declaring it as a protected monument doe not arise,” the affidavit emphasised.

In a bunch of PILs, including the one filed by Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy, it has been sought to stop the multi-crore Sethusamudram project, which envisages deepening of the Palk Strait to shorten the sea route for ships approaching Indian coast.

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Advani protests over govt affidavit on Ram

New Delhi, September 12
Credited with his party’s rise to power on the wave of the Ayodhya movement, senior BJP leader L K Advani today lodged his protest with the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) over the government’s submission in the Supreme Court that there was no historical evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram.

Advani left a message with the PMO, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was away for a meeting with his visiting Bulgarian counterpart, to convey to him his objections over the government’s affidavit in this regard.

“He raised strong objections over this submission of the government and told the PMO to bring them to the notice of the Prime Minister,” an aide of Advani said.

In election mode, the BJP earlier in the day drew a parallel between the row over the Sethusamudram shipping canal project and its Ram temple movement, saying it found similarity in the ruling Congress’ response to the saffron objections in both the cases.

“A comparison can be there, it cannot be there. I see a comparison in terms of the government’s response to both issues,” said BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, whose party colleague Vijay Kumar Malhotra accused the Congress-led centre of blasphemy because of its submission before the Supreme Court that is hearing a plea challenging the Palk Strait canal project.

The Sangh Parivar says the project, under its current alignment, would damage what is believed to be an undersea bridge built by Lord Ram. — PTI

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