Chennai: Vishwa Hindu Parishad's(VHP) international president Ashok Singhal recently called for realignment of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) leaving the Ram Sethu bridge unscathed and wanted it to be officially notified as an ancient monument using the analogy of Brahma Sarovar at Kurukshetra.
Speaking to reporters here, Singhal charged it was due to the pressure from USA which made Congress president Sonia Gandhi to inaugurate the SSCP to make the Palk Strait as international waters to help the American government.
?If Ram Sethu is demolished then it would destroy thorium, large deposits of which are found in the place,? he said adding that it had to be saved for making Bharat a self-reliant nuclear power and as it is one of our top national imperatives.
With reference to the impact of tsunami and cultural concerns, Singhal said the government should order re-evaluation of alternative alignment.
Spiritual leader Dayananda Saraswathi said this was not a political issue but purely an appeal to re-route the project and canal and save Ram Sethu. ?At the same time we are not against the project but suggesting alternative routes which are of short distance and economical.?
The VHP warned of an ?uprising by Hindus?, if the Centre went ahead with the work.
?Destruction of the bridge will hurt the sentiments of Hindus,? VHP international president Ashok Singhal told a press meet here.
Claiming that Hindu acharyas were ?restless? over the ?threat? to the Rama Sethu, he described as rubbish, Union Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu'sremarks that such a bridge never existed.
Singhal and Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, founder of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, displayed photographs of satellite images, reportedly of the bridge, captured by NASA.
?The British taught us distorted history and never recognised Lord Ram as a historical figure and those who want to destroy the bridge are those against Lord Ram,? he said. He also alleged that the project was ?swiftly approved? for implementation.
According to Hindu mythology, the bridge was constructed by Lord Ram with the help of Vanarasena to cross over to Sri Lanka.
Dayananda Saraswathi said ?if it was a God-made one, it is all the more sacred to us,? he said.
VHP will hold an agitation at Rameswaram against the SSCP in which he and Dayananda Saraswathi would be participating, Ashok Singhal told the media.
A rally would be held at New Delhi on May 13 and a meeting of acharyas at Bangalore on May 16 had also been planned, Singhal said. (FOC)