Shankracharya asks government to respect Hindus’ religious feelings

November 14th, 2007 - 2:16 am ICT by admin  
New Delhi, Oct.15 (ANI): The Shankaracharya of Badrika Ashram has asked the Government of India not to hurt the feelings of the Hindu community by going ahead with the construction of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal.

He said that the Central Government “should not move ahead to destroy the Ram Sethu.”

He feels that judging from the Government’s current stand on the issue one feels that “There was no hope from the Centre”.

Talking to Asian News International on the sidelines of a Rudrabhishek ceremony in Old Delhi on Sunday, Shankracharya Swami Madhvashram said the individuals criticising Lord Rama ‘deserved to be ousted from the country’.

In particular he was referring to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s controversial remarks about Lord Rama, the Shankaracharya said: “Karunanidhi Ko Desh-Nikala dena chahiye (Karunanidhi should be ousted from the country)”.

Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, however, has been put on hold.

Last month, seeking three months time to examine the Sethusamudram project issue, the Centre withdrew an affidavit relating to the mythological “Ram Sethu” from the Supreme Court.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K. G. Balkrishnan allowed the withdrawal of the affidavit, and posted the matter for next hearing in the first week of January 2008.

The affidavit filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on behalf of the Centre stated that there was no evidence to prove “the existence of the characters or the occurrence of events” in the Ramayana.

This invited criticism, forcing the Centre to clarify its statement. The government said that it wanted to resolve the matter in a “constructive and mutually acceptable manner”.

In the wake of protests by the BJP and other Hindu groups over the government’s first affidavit, the Government had said that it would file a supplementary affidavit on the Sethusamundram case in the Supreme Court.

Hindu groups have called on the government to stop the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, saying it will demolish the mythical bridge linking India and Sri Lanka, believed to have been built by Lord Ram.

Opposing the 560 million dollars project, they say it would destroy the Ram Sethu, a 48- kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka.

A ten-member committee, headed by University of Madras Vice-Chancellor Prof. S. Ramachandran, who is also the Chairman of Monitoring Committee on Environmental Impact Issues, has been constituted to look into the matter.

The Project will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.

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. (ANI)

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