Hindus, Muslims join hands against Sethusamudram Project

December 13th, 2007 - 6:58 pm ICT by admin  

Varanasi, Dec 13 (ANI): People belonging to the Hindu and the Muslim communities offered prayers here for protection of the Ram Setu.
They said that the mythological bridge was under threat by the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project.
While radical Hindu groups have been spearheading the agitation, prayer meeting, though attended by a handful of volunteers, was the first time Muslims rallied against the project.
“We believe that our revered Paigambar (Prophet Mohammed) went to Sri Lanka through the Ram Sethu. There is also a mausoleum dedicated to him in Sri Lanka. Both Hindus and Muslims should work together to save it (Ram Setu),” said Mohammed Shamim Ahmed, a resident.
Hindu groups have been opposing the project, saying it would destroy the ‘holy’ Ram Sethu, a 48-kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka.
According to the Central Government, research has shown that the Ram Setu was a series of sand shoals created by sedimentation, but according to Hindus the narrow link, also known as Adam’s Bridge, was built by Lord Rama.
The project has also sparked protests by other groups including conservationists and local fishermen who say the dredging will mean dumping sediment in deeper water further out to sea.
The 560-million dollar project will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.
India plans to go ahead with the project in seas off its southern coast despite protests by various groups.
Dredging for the project began in 2005 and the channel — 12 metres deep, 300 metres wide and almost 90 km long — will provide a crucial link between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.
When the project is finished, ships sailing between India’s western and eastern coasts will no longer have to go around the south of Sri Lanka, and are expected to save up to 36 hours of sailing time. (ANI)

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