In what might be considered a major victory for the Hindu faith, the Modi government today conveyed its decision to the Supreme Court, to leave the Ram Setu untouched. The government via Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, informed that it would be considering alternative routes for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project.
A copy of the affidavit was tweeted by Prabhati Mishra, LiveLaw’s Managing Editor:
In the affidavit, Anant Saran, the Director of Ministry of Shipping informed the court about the erstwhile UPA government’s affidavits in 2013 conveying its decision to pursue the project’s implementation after listing out the “advantages”.
Now the stance has changed with the government unwilling to implement the said alignment. Thus the director informed that the Indian government intends to explore alternatives without affecting or damaging the Ram Setu in the nation’s interest.
Subramanian Swamy a petitioner in the matter took to twitter informing the public about him concluding his 20-year long case as a result of this affidavit:
Today SC was told by Govt Ram Setu will not be touched. I finally after 20 yrs have concluded my case listed Transfer WP No. 26&27 of 2006
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) March 16, 2018
The current issue dates back to about 2007 when the UPA-1 government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court to argue that Ram Setu which is believed to have been built by Lord Ram, lacked scientific veracity.
The heart of the matter is the proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project, to be built off the coast of Rameshwaram in Tamilnadu. The project proposed building a shipping canal linking the Arabian Sea with the Bay of Bengal which traversed the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, and the Palk Straits. This canal though required the dredging of Ram Setu’s limestone shoals, which would have meant the destruction of the Setu.
Besides whipping up religious sentiments, the conduct of the UPA-1 government regarding this matter had also resulted in a political storm when it argued in the Supreme Court that there was no historical proof of Lord Ram.
This affidavit by the Shipping Ministry director comes in the backdrop of a Science Channel video clip which with the help of satellite data, claimed that the Ram Setu was man-made.