Dismantle Setu experts panel: petition filed in Supreme Court

Subramanian Swamy for dismantling of Sethusamudram experts panel

Published on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007at 7:32 am

New Delhi:Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking dismantling of the 10-member experts committee on the Sethusamudram canal project alleging “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Ram Sethu bias” among some of the panel’s members, including its chairman S. Ramachandran.

Swamy also sought junking of the panel on the grounds that it did not have any reputed archaeologist or scientists from reputed bodies like the National Institute of Ocean Technology or the Geological Survey of India.

The panel was constituted by the central government to re-examine the feasibility of implementing the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, off the Tamil Nadu coast, without damaging Adam’s Bridge or Ram Sethu, which is revered by many Hindus as the bridge referred to in the “Ramayana”.

Swamy, who submitted his petition to the apex court’s registry, is likely to apprise an apex court bench on Wednesday about his pending petition and plead for its urgent hearing.

The government had constituted the panel Oct 5 in accordance with its assurance to the Supreme Court Sep 14 that it would review the project to build a shorter sea route around the Indian peninsula, without damaging the Ram Sethu.

The government had given the assurance while taking back an offending affidavit, which doubted the existence of Lord Ram and events depicted in the “Ramayana”.

Besides Madras University Vice-Chancellor S. Ramachandran, the panel includes Delhi University history professor R.S. Sharma, Aqua Culture Foundation of India president M. Sakthivel and Central Pollution Control Board’s former chairman Dileep K. Biswas.

The other members of the panel include Kolkata-based Zoological Survey of India’s former director J.R.D. Alfred, Nagpur-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute director S.R Wate.

Citing instances of alleged inherent anti-Hindu or anti-Ram Sethu bias among the members, Swamy said that history professor Sharma “is an admittedly anti-Hindu Marxist historian and has appeared as witness in the Ramajanmabhoomi case to rubbish the claims of a Hindu structure underlying the demolished Babri mosque in Ayodhya”.

“He has actually queried the historicity of Shri Rama and Shri Krishna. Thus his views on the project must naturally be one-sided,” he added.

Referring to panel chairman Ramachandran’s “public views” on Ram Sethu, Swamy said that during adjudication of the matter by the Madras High Court in June, the professor had issued a press statement negating Hindus’ belief on Ram Sethu.

“We, the scientists having expertise in the field of geology and oceanography confirm that Adam’s Bridge is purely of barrier islands formed due to natural process,” Swamy quoted Ramachandran as saying in his press statement.

“Having intimately associated with a particular exclusive view, Prof Ramachandran must be disqualified from the committee,” Swamy added.

He also objected to the inclusion of members like Sakhtivel, Biswas and Alfred in the committee on the ground that they assessed the environmental impact of the project earlier and gave it a green signal turning a blind eye to the fact that it would destroy the fragile ecology of the area.

Ram Sethu is believed by many Hindus to be the bridge built by Lord Ram’s army of monkeys and bears to reach Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita, who was abducted by demon king Ravana.



Swamy moves SC, seeks quashing of panel on Sethu project

New Delhi (PTI): Alleging that several panel members have biased views, former Union Minister Subramaniam Swamy on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the “Committee of Eminent Persons” constituted by the Centre to examine the contentious “Ram Sethu” bridge relating to the Sethusamudram project.

In an interlocutory application, Swamy submitted that the committee constituted on October 5 by the Centre was “vitiated by non-inclusion of certain expertise which is essential to address the criticisms that had compelled the Government to keep the project on hold.”

Swamy alleged that many of the committee members including its chairman S Ramachandran, other members like M Sakhtivel, Dilip K Biswas, J R B Alfred, S R Wate and R C Sharma have strong views for continuing with the project at the cost of destruction to the “Ram Sethu” bridge.

Following a public outcry over the Centre’s affidavit in the apex court that disputed the existence of Lord Rama and other Ramayana characters, the government beat a hasty retreat by withdrawing the affidavit and keeping the project under hold for three months.

It assured the apex court that a committee comprising eminent personalities would be constituted to examine the claims and counter-claims on the “Ram Sethu” before taking a further decision on the issue.

Accordingly on October 5, the committee was constituted by the Centre with 10 members.



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