The whole credit to discover and protect Ram Sethu goes to the late RSS Pracharak Chamanlalji, who used to look after overseas activities of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and lived at Sangh'sJhandewalan office. I was a minister at the centre when NASA'sphoto exhibition was held in Delhi.
A picture related to Ram Sethu, which was shown in the exhibition, was published in daily Hindustan. Chamanlalji immediately called me to come to the Sangh office. Chamanlalji and I had a very close and spiritual bond. I regarded him as a rishi and hence his every instruction was an order for me. He showed the picture of Ram Sethu and then I took him to the exhibition. Thereafter, he told me if I could do something for Ram Sethu, I should do it. By the grace of God, I was given the charge of the Ministry of Coal and Mines. Under the Department of Mines, there is a sub-department, namely Geological Survey of India (GSI). At the time of a presentation by that department, I showed them the picture of Ram Sethu taken by NASA and told them to send a team of scientists to Rameshwaram to confirm the authenticity of the picture. The GSI team, having reached Rameshwaram, Dhanushkoti and studying the place shown in the picture, confirmed the underwater formation of rocks attached to each other and described those rocks as old as one lakh years. For further study and excavation, they proposed a detailed project involving marine and scientific assistance and a budget of Rs. 100 crore. I was very excited and concluded that if Ram Sethu is true, so is Ramjanmabhoomi and all places associated with our faith.
At that time, I was told by Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee and Shri Lal Krishna Advani to resign from the ministership and counter Congress in Madhya Pradesh in the forthcoming elections. At the time of resignation, I was very disappointed because the Ram Sethu exploration work was incomplete. So I met the Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee and made him aware of the progress of the work, related to Ram Sethu and urged him to issue a direction to the next minister to expedite this work. I myself was very energised by this discovery, because I maintained that Sri Ram was born three yugas ago, so there could be places of the era of Sri Ram, but the fact that there was a monument built during the era of Sri Ram was very heartening and encouraging. I wanted that I should announce this news before the whole world.
When I was in the cabinet at the centre, then the discussion on Sethusamudram project was going on. But after my return to Madhya Pradesh, I had no way to follow up about further developments. The decision that Sethusamudram project should be implemented by destroying Ram Sethu was never taken till I was in the cabinet.
After my resignation as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, due to the tricolour case in Hubli, and after the formation of my new political party and during the Bharat Suraksha Yatra from Rameshwaram to Kedarnath, I came to know about implementation of Sethusamudram project by destroying Ram Sethu. This news came as a severe jolt to me and immediately I wrote a letter to the then President of India Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, making him aware of the developments. We also informed Shri Ashok Singhal about this and our party launched a movement against this, which still continues.
The destruction of Ram Sethu is not only an insult to Indian culture, but it will also deprive lakhs of fishermen of their livelihood and will also present a grave threat to our national security. Most of the cadres of LTTE, who cross over to Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka posing as refugees, reside in the nearby areas of Rameshwaram. They indulge in the smuggling of illegal weapons and sell their weapons to Islamic terrorists.
While fighting for the cause of protection of Ram Sethu, two things have come to light. Firstly, Hindus, instead of using their united power, depend only on God to protect their religious places. This shows that there is no change in the attitude of Hindus as it was during the period of Babur and Ghaznavi. Secondly, the facts presented by the central government, in an affidavit on Ram Sethu, made it evident that when a person of foreign origin, having faith in Christianity, holds an important post as de facto head of the government, the Hindu community will have to face such insults. I congratulate VHP for raising the issue of Ram Sethu and launching a movement against Sethusamudram project. My party and I will lend our support to every effort to protect Ram Sethu.
(The writer is a respected senior political leader and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.)