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Alignment 6 is most viable: Centre

J. Venkatesan

Lord Ram himself destroyed the bridge, says counsel Nariman

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday asserted that Lord Ram himself destroyed Ramar Sethu after his victory over Ravana and “we cannot worship something that has been destroyed.”

Senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for the Centre, made this submission before a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court hearing the Sethusamudram case.

(Senior counsel K. Parasaran, appearing for one of the petitioners, earlier said “Ramar Sethu is considered by large sections of believers a holy and sacred place. That part of the sea in the area of Dhanuskodi, Rameswaram, Tirupulani and Devipatnam is considered a holy place by reason of the existence of Ramar Sethu, believed to have been constructed to enable Lord Ram to have passage to Sri Lanka. To interfere [with] or destroy even part of the causeway would be an interference with the right of liberty of belief, faith and worship.”)

Mr. Nariman said Mr. Parasaran had argued that the integrity of the bridge could not be destroyed. He quoted the very same document, relied upon by Mr. Parasaran, to drive home the point that Lord Ram himself had destroyed the bridge with his magical bow. “According to the document, Lord Ram broke the bridge into three parts. Anything that is broken is not a bridge. We cannot worship something that has been destroyed.”

What Kamban says

Mr. Nariman said “Kamba Ramayanam also expressly says the bridge was destroyed by Lord Ram so that no one can cross over to Sri Lanka and ships can sail through. Even the Telugu version of Ramayana says Lord Ram destroyed the bridge.”

Intervening, Justice R.V. Raveendran said, “We are not taking any evidence on the existence or otherwise of Ramar Sethu.”

Mr. Nariman said: “Nobody wants faith to be ruptured. What I am trying to say is if you are relying on a document in support of your faith, rely on it fully or leave it.”

He said those who relied on scriptures in their attempt to block the Sethusamudram project should also consider other aspects of faith. “We believe that the bridge is not a man-made structure but a superman-made structure destroyed by Lord Ram himself.”

“Most viable route”

Mr. Nariman explained the various other alignments considered for the project and maintained that Alignment No. 6 (the present route) was the most viable route in terms of protecting the environment and biosphere.

Pointing to the map submitted by Mr. Nariman, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said, “Why can’t you consider Alignment No. 4 with a little deviation from the Dhanusodi point and you can avoid this bridge. The area is also away from the biopark. ”

Justice Raveendran told counsel: “Somewhere down the line you have to balance faith and the project, and there has to be a little adjustment, when an alternative alignment is available. Alignment No. 4 is not an engineering impossibility. Should parties stand stiff in their positions when without hurting anybody’s faith you can consider an alternative alignment? Why are you creating an issue when you can consider an alternative alignment? Once this is agreed in principle, a scientifically, technically and politically feasible alternative alignment can be considered. Economic aspects should also be kept in mind as dredging is a continuous process.”

Mr. Nariman replied, “Let us see.” He said the controversial affidavits questioning the existence of Lord Ram were withdrawn under extraneous circumstances. He agreed with Justice Raveendran that the issue of faith had to be accommodated in going ahead with the project.

Mr. Nariman will continue his arguments on Thursday.

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