Rama Setu: don’t damage, SC tells Centre

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Don’t damage Ram Setu: SC tells Centre

Abraham Thomas | New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the Government from carrying out all such construction activities under the ongoing Setusamudram Ship Canal Project that could damage the so-called Ram Setu.

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The court felt an imminent threat to the mythical structure after an application raised apprehensions about possible damage to the Ram Setu or Adams Bridge. The applicant, Subramanian Swamy, made an urgent mentioning before the court stating that on a recent visit to the project site, he learnt from fishermen that holes were being drilled in the ancient bridge to detonate it with explosives.

According to Swamy, the age-old structure is a symbol of both archeological and religious significance as the epic Ramayana recalls that Lord Rama constructed a way through the sea to reach Lanka. In this regard, a slew of petitions are pending before the Supreme Court. Swamy demanded protection of the Setu till the time the court had taken a final view on the pending petitions.

The court said , “Till September 14 (next date of hearing), the alleged Adams Bridge or Ram Setu shall not be damaged in any manner.”

Without stopping the dredging activity being pursued along the 167-kilometre-odd canal project, the court said, “Dredging activity may be carried out so long as it doesn’t damage the alleged Setu.”

Before passing the order, the Bench of Justices BN Agrawal and PP Naolekar sought an assurance from the Centre to this effect that no damage would be caused to the alleged Setu. “If you destroy the bridge, what will remain to be decided,” it observed.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramanium sought to dismiss the concern of the petitioner as unfounded but stated that the dredging activity which requires removal of sand will continue. He suggested that the Government considered all options before choosing this route as the most economically viable option for ships to pass from the west coast to India’s east coast without going around Sri Lanka.

“The alleged Setu is not an archeological monument within the meaning of Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958,” he said, adding, “it is a formation of sand which got solidified over the years due to intermixing with calcium and other mineral deposits in the sea bed.” But this did not settle the court’s worry.

By the next date, the court asked the Centre to file its reply to the said application. This implies that the Government will respond its stand on declaring the Ram Setu as an ancient monument. Secondly, the Centre would have to indicate what study it undertook to discard other five alternate routes proposed to the Government by experts since 1955. “These routes were suggested to save the bridge from destruction,” Swamy argued.

The conclusion arrived by the court was strengthened by Swamy’s claim that only 30 per cent work on the project has completed since 2005. The Setu stretches about 35 kilometers and bearing this in mind, Swamy suggested that without destroying the bridge, the work may continue on the remaining stretch of the project. Even the court agreed with this proposition.

But the Centre vehemently objected to this stand by informing the Bench that the decision to align the project on the Setu was taken up in 2002 and in the interregnum the applicant’s concerns were dismissed by the Madras High Court by its order of July 17 this year. Moreover, the ASG argued that in the petitions pending before the Supreme Court a similar prayer to stay the project was refused by the court.

The Centre argued that in matters involving public policy, as in this case, the courts generally do not pass an order of stay. But the Bench differed with this view. It noted, “In all this if the Government’s view is to prevail then there is nothing left in the petitions before us.” The court felt that if the Setu is not protected there is likelihood that the same could get damaged and since no repair of it is possible, the writ petitions before the court will be rendered futile.

http://tinyurl.com/62395

Dainik Jagaran (Hindi daily), 1 Sept. 2007रामसेतु तोड़ने पर सुप्रीम कोर्ट की रोक 

नई दिल्ली। सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने रामसेतु को तोड़ने पर फिलहाल रोक लगा दी है। अब 14 सितंबर को न्यायालय फिर इस मामले की सुनवाई करेगा। केंद्र सरकार से तब तक जवाब दाखिल करने को कहा गया है। रामसेतु को तोड़ने के विरुद्ध आंदोलन चला रही विश्व हिंदू परिषद इस फैसले से खासी उत्साहित है। उसने केंद्र सरकार पर दबाव बनाने के लिए पहले ही 12 सितंबर को पूरे देश के सेतुओं पर चक्का जाम का ऐलान किया है।
  
सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने रामसेतु को तोड़ने पर यह अंतरिम रोक जनता पार्टी के अध्यक्ष सुब्रमण्यम स्वामी की याचिका पर लगाई। स्वामी ने अपने याचिका में आरोप लगाया था कि केंद्र सरकार सेतु को उड़ाने की तैयारी कर रही है। इस क्रम में सेतु में छेद किए जा रहे हैं, ताकि उसमें आरडीएक्स भरकर उसे उड़ाया जा सके। इसी पर सुनवाई करते हुए न्यायमूर्ति बीएन अग्रवाल व पीपी नाओलेकर की दो सदस्यीय बेंच के सामने सरकारी वकील ने रोक लगाने का बहुत विरोध किया, लेकिन उनके पास बेंच के सवालों का कोई जवाब नहीं था। दरअसल, सरकार पिछली कई तारीखें निकलने के बाद भी इस मामले में जवाब दाखिल नहीं कर सकी थी। इसी पर याचिकाकर्ता ने आशंका जताई थी कि सरकार सुनवाई के दौरान ही रामसेतु को धमाकों से उड़ाने की साजिश रच रही है। अगर ऐसा होता है तो भारत की सांस्कृतिक धरोहर को अपूरणीय क्षति होगी तथा लाखों लोगों की भावनाएं भी आहत होंगी।
  
सरकारी पक्ष ने तर्क दिया कि वहां मानवनिर्मित कोई पुल नहीं है, इसलिए स्टे नहीं दिया जाना चाहिए। अदालत ने पूछा कि क्या जवाब दाखिल न किए जाने तक वे यह आश्वासन दे सकते हैं कि सेतु को कोई नुकसान नहीं पहुंचेगा? पर सरकारी वकील कोई आश्वासन देने में नाकाम रहे। इस पर बेंच ने कहा कि अगर सुनवाई के दौरान ही सेतु तोड़ दिया गया तो इस मामले में कुछ बचेगा ही नहीं। लिहाजा 14 सितंबर तक इस पर रोक लगाई जाती है और सरकार तब तक अपना जवाब दाखिल करे। उसी दिन इस मामले की अगली सुनवाई होगी।
  
अदालत के इस फैसले से उत्साहित विहिप महासचिव प्रवीण भाई तोगड़िया ने केंद्र सरकार को चेतावनी दी कि आस्थाओं को सुबूत की जरूरत नहीं होती। हम कोई साक्ष्य नहीं देंगे। हमारी परंपरागत मान्यता ही काफी है और अगर सेतु को तोड़ा तो सरकार को नतीजे भुगतने होंगे।उन्होंने बताया कि रामेश्वरम रामसेतु रक्षा मंच 12 सितंबर को पूरे देश में एक साथ चक्का जाम करेगा।
[Friday, August 31, 2007 7:01:53 PM (IST) ]

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Dinamalar, Tamil daily, Sept. 1, 200712ம் தேதி பந்த் வி.எச்.பி., அறிவிப்புபுதுடில்லி : `சேது சமுத்திர திட்டத்தின் கீழ் ராமர் பாலத்தை இடிப்பதை தடுத்து நிறுத்த கோரி செப்டம்பர் 12ம் தேதி நாடு தழுவிய சாலை மறியல் நடத்தப்படும்என விஸ்வ இந்து பரிஷத் தெரிவித்துள்ளது.பரிஷத்தின் பொதுச் செயலர் பிரவீன் தொகாடியா கூறுகையில்,`இந்தியா மற்றும் இலங்கை இடையே நட்பு பாலமாக ராமர் பாலம் விளங்குகிறது. இந்த பாலத்தை தகர்த்து விட்டால், நாடு முழுவதும் உள்ள பாலங்கள், நெடுஞ்சாலைகள், மேம்பாலங்களில் போக்குவரத்துக்கு அனுமதி அளிக்கப்படாது. இதை வலியுறுத்தி செப்டம்பர் 12ம் தேதி நாடு முழுவதும் அனைத்து பாலங்கள், நெடுஞ்சாலைகள், மேம்பாலங்களில் சாலை மறியல் நடத்தப்படும். மூன்று மணி நேரம் நடக்கும் மறியலில் 5 ஆயிரம் பேர் பங்கேற்பர். அவசரகால சேவைக்கு மட்டும் மறியலில் இருந்து விலக்கு அளிக்கப்படும். 12ம் தேதி காலை 8 மணிக்கு மறியல் துவங்கும்என்றார்.http://dinamalar.com/2007sep01/final.asp#7

Saturday September 1 2007 00:00 IST Dinamani, Tamil daily WôUo TôXjûR C¥dL ùNl.14 YûW CûPdLôXj RûP: EfN ¿§Uu\m ×Õ§p#, ùNl. 1: úNÕ NØj§Wm §hPj§p WôUo TôXjûR C¥dL YÚm 14-m úR§ YûW CûPdLôXj RûP ®§jÕ EfN ¿§Uu\m ùYs°d¡ZûU EjRW®hÓs[Õ. _]Rô Lh£j RûXYÚm, Øu]ôs Uj§V AûUfNÚUô] Ñl©WU¦Vu Nôª RôdLp ùNnR Uà, EfN ¿§Uu\j§p ùYs°d¡ZûU ®NôWûQdÏ YkRÕ. ¿§T§Ls ©.Gu.ALoYôp Utßm ©.©. SqúXôLo APe¡V ùTgf CkR YZdûL ®Nô¬jÕ CkR EjRWûY ©\l©jRÕ. Øu]RôL, Ñl©WU¦Vu RôdLp ùNnR Uà®u ᱫÚkRÕ; 135 ¡.Á. ¿[m ùLôiP úNÕ NØj§W §hPj§p WôUo TôXm 35 ¡.Á. ¿[m ùLôiPÕ. WôUo TôXm CkÕdL°u YWXôtßl ×WôQ TôXUôÏm. úNÕ NØj§W §hPjRôp CkR TôXm C¥dLlTÓm. CR]ôp, CkÕdL°u ×WôR]f £u]m CpXôUp úTôÏm. AWÑ §hPªhúP WôUo TôXjûR A¯dL ØVt£ ùNnÕ YÚYRôLÜm, Øu]RôL §hPm ϱjÕ ¨×QoLÞPu LXkRôúXô£dL®pûX G]Üm AR]ôp, TôXm C¥dLlTÓYûR RÓdL úYiÓm G] R]Õ Uà®p Ñl©WU¦Vu Nôª ϱl©h¥ÚkRôo. AWÑ YZdL±Oo: CkR YZd¡uúTôÕ Uj§V AW£u Nôo©p áÓRp ùNô#£hPo ù_]Wp úLôTôp Ñl©WU¦Vm YôRô¥]o. AYo YôRj§p, úNÕ NØj§W §hPm JÚ úUmTôhÓdϬV §hPm. CkR §hPjÕdÏ CÕYûW ì.387 úLô¥ ùNX®PlThÓs[Õ. CkR §hPj§u ùUôjR U§l× ì.2400 úLô¥. WôúUvYWj§p CÚkÕ CXeûL ùNpÛm LlTp TVQjÕdÏ CkR §hPm ªLÜm Ht\Õ Gu\ôo. RªZL AW£u Nôo©p YôR¥V áÓRp ùNô#£hPo ù_]Wp úUôLu, UàRôWo ϱl©hPÕ úTôp WôUo TôXm ×WôQ ùTÚûU YônkR TôXm ApX. AÕ CVtûLVôL EÚYô] UQp §hÓLs Rôu. úUÛm, §hPm ùRôPoTôL ¨×QoLÞPu LXkÕ BúXô£dL®pûX G] UàRôWo áßYÕ RY\ô]Õ. ÑtßfãZp ¨×QoLs, LPp BWônf£Vô[oLs, NhP ¨×QoLs B¡úVô¬u BúXôNû]ûVl ùTtú\ Cj §hPm ùRôPeLlThÓs[Õ Gu\ôo. YôReLû[ úLhP ¿§T§Ls RUÕ EjRW®p á±VÕ: WôUo TôXjûR C¥dL ùNl.14 YûW CûPdLôXj RûP ®§dLlTÓ¡\Õ. úNÕ NØj§W §hPj§p UQp AsÞm T¦«uúTôÕ TôXm úNRUôLôÕ G] Eߧ A°jRôp UQp AsÞm T¦ûV ùRôPWXôm. AúRúYû[«p, Uj§V AWÑ CÕϱjÕ ©WUôQ Tj§WjûR RôdLp úYiÓm Gußm ¿§T§Ls EjRW®hP]o.

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SC restrains government from damaging Ram Setu

The Supreme Court Friday restrained the government from causing any damage to the mythological Ram Setu (bridge) off India’s southern tip that would be destroyed for constructing a navigational sea route.

From correspondents in Delhi, India, 31 Aug 2007 – (http://www.indiaenews.com)

The Supreme Court Friday restrained the government from causing any damage to the mythological Ram Setu (bridge) off India’s southern tip that would be destroyed for constructing a navigational sea route.

A bench of Justices B.N. Agarwal and P.P. Naolekar, however, allowed the government to continue dredging the peak of Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge in the narrow sea between Rameswaram in India and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, but without causing any damage to it.

‘Till Sep 14, the alleged Adam’s Bridge or the Ramarsethu will not be damaged in any manner. The dredging activity may be carried out but without damaging the bridge,’ the bench ordered the government after a two-hour-long hearing of an interim application by former union minister Subramanian Swamy.

Swami had approached the court saying he apprehended that plans may be afoot to blow apart the bridge that Hindus consider holy to pave way for the Sethusamudram ship canal.

He said that he had on Aug 26 visited Rameswaram where some fishermen told him that the government has begun drilling holes in the bridge area to fill it with research developed explosive to blow it apart.

Terming Swamy’s fears as ‘undue apprehensions’, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam urged the bench not to accede to his request as it would impede the pace of the ongoing Sethusamudram project.

Denying that the government had any plans to blow apart Adam’s Bridge with explosives, Subramaniam however added that the Sethusamudram Corporation Limited, which is executing the project, was presently dredging the Adam’s Bridge area. He said the bridge was actually a natural shallow undersea ridge, existing at a depth of 1.5 to 3.5 m below the water level.

Asked by the bench, if the dredging would damage the Adam’s Bridge, the government law officer was unable to give a categorical assurance.

Pleading against interfering with the execution of the project, Subramaniam said that the government was willing to file a detailed affidavit Saturday and would like it to start hearing the matter from next week so that all obstacles to the project were removed for good.

Swamy however contended that the government wanted to go ahead with plans to blow up the bridge in the meantime.

Apparently inclined to grant a positive legal relief to Swamy, the bench asked the government whether several petitions challenging the Sethusamudram project and pending before the court would become meaningless if some damage is caused to the bridge during the time consuming adjudication of the issue.

‘What will the court decide if something happens to the bridge,’ the bench asked.

Earlier on July 17, a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, acceding to a central government plea, had transferred all petitions pending in the Madras High Court against the Sethusamudram project, to itself.

The bench had also asked the government to file an affidavit to explain whether the Ram Setu could be declared a national monument after making minor alterations in the project’s intended course.

Readily agreeing to the bench’s directions, Subramaniam had promised that the government in its affidavit would also detail the environmental studies on the Rs.25 billion project.

While a batch of petitions in the Madras High Court has sought certain minor alterations in the project’s course to protect the bridge, a petition in the apex court has raised serious doubts over the environmental impact of the channel.

India does not have continuous navigational sea route around its peninsula through its own territorial waters due to the shallow undersea ridge or Adam’s Bridge.

Ships calling at Indian ports on the east coast have to go around Sri Lanka – an additional distance of 254 to 424 nautical miles and an additional time of 18 to 30 hours. The canal project was cleared by the central government in 2005.

Some Hindus believe Adam’s Bridge to be the ‘Puranik Ramar Sethu’ built by Lord Rama’s army of monkeys and bears to cross over to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita who was abducted by demon king Ravana.

Read more at: http://www.indiaenews.com/religion/20070831/68076.htm

2 Responses to Rama Setu: don’t damage, SC tells Centre

  1. T.C.Govindan says:

    It is a great relief for the harrassed Hindus. I hope efforts are being taken to declare it a World Heritage Site, if the anti-Hindu Govt of India does not declare it a National Heritage Site.

  2. n.srinivasan says:

    why only some hindus? actually all hindus. n.srinivasan

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