Cancel Sethusamudram project: BJP
Indo-Asian News Service
Monday, October 22, 2007 (New Delhi)
The BJP on Monday asked the government to abandon work on the controversial Sethusamudram shipping canal project.
”The BJP condemns the willful and outrageous statement made by Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu on Vijaydashmi (Sunday) about the completion of the Sethusamudram Project by blowing up the Ram Sethu. This is not only a gross insult to the national sentiment but is also a deliberate attempt to hurt the faith of the entire nation,” BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
He was referring to Baalu’s statement in Chennai that the project would be completed within a year.
”It is an attempt to prejudge and pressurize the expert committee appointed by the government to hear the public grievances in the matter,” he said.
The project to develop a shorter navigation route is mired in controversy.
The BJP and several Hindu groups have opposed it saying it will destroy the Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge that finds a mention in the epic Ramayana.
In defending the project, the government in an affidavit – since withdrawn – before the Supreme Court earlier this year had questioned the existence of Hindu god Ram.
Javadekar also ridiculed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi for participating in Ravana Dahan – burning the effigy of demon king Ravana whom Ram had defeated – in a Dussehra celebration in the capital on Sunday.
”The BJP dares the prime minister to answer as to how he participated in the function of Ravana Dahan, when his government has challenged the very existence of Ram,” he said.