New Delhi: In a bid to revive the controversial Ram Sethu project, the Union government on Wednesday cited verses from the Kamban Ramayana, the version of the epic Ramayana that is popular in Tamil Nadu, before the Supreme Court and told the court that Ram had broken the mythical bridge “with his arrow in two”.
The controversial project involves dredging a channel through a walkway between India and Sri Lanka to reduce shipping times. Last August, the court had issued a stay order on all dredging at the site of the bridge. The arguments before the court on the lifting of its August stay order resumed on Tuesday.
Controversial line: A satellite image of the Adam’s Bridge
On Wednesday, senior counsel Fali S. Nariman, appearing for the government, quoted the Kamban Ramayana and told the court: “Ramayana expressly speaks of the destruction of the bridge. The integrity of the bridge cannot be destroyed if it is contrary to our faith. It was super man-made. That is the belief. You cannot worship something that has been destroyed.”
In May, the petitioners, who include Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader J. Jayalalithaa, began their arguments opposing the lifting of a court-ordered stay on the project. They contended that regardless of the question whether the Ram Sethu is natural, built by Ram or man-made, the government must protect the beliefs of people and stop dredging.
In September, the government withdrew two affidavits it filed that stated that there was no evidence to prove the existence of Ram.
During the last hearing on 8 May, the court upheld its previous stay order and asked the government to consider an alternative alignment for the shipping channel. The court also asked the government to consider asking the Archaeological Survey of India to survey the bridge and shed light on the question whether the nature of the bridge was natural or man-made.
Nariman said: “ What’s the point if someone investigates it? It is a matter of faith so we have to argue like that.”
Nariman will continue his arguments on Thursday.