AYODHYA: A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin adopted a resolution in the Assembly on the Sethusamudram project, Hindu saints across the country are calling out the DMK government and claiming the project to be against the "Sanatan Dharam". Saint Diwakar Acharya, while speaking to ANI said, "We (Sanatanis) will take a bullet on our chest if they (government) try to harm the Ram Setu bridge. It is a pride of our country."
Another saint from Ayodhya, Mahant Chandrabhushan, also protested against the Sethusamudram project and said, "the government is playing vote-bank politics to appease few people of the country." "We belong to a peaceful community. They should be ashamed of demolishing the structure which holds great value to us sanatanis," he added.
Earlier on Thursday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin adopted a resolution in the Assembly on the Sethusamudram project. "If the Sethusamudram project is accomplished, more than 50,000 people will get employment. This was pointed out by our former CM Kalaignar Karunanidhi," the DMK president said. Calling out attempts to scuttle the project, Stalin said, "Sethusamudram is Anna and Kalaingar's dream project. Under the BJP government, only one waterway of the Sethusamudram project has been planned so far. The Prime Minister at the time (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) allocated funds for developing this waterway. It is only because of political reasons that the BJP opposed the Sethusamudram project. Then CM Jayalalitha was in favour of the Sethusamudram project but, all of a sudden, she, too, changed her stand and filed a case against the project."
While the CM accused the BJP of attempts to scuttle the project, BJP MLA Nayinar Nagendharan spoke in favour of the Sethisamudram project, saying, "We worship Ramar (Lord Ram). There should not be any damage to Ramar Bridge as Lord Ram had set foot in it. We support this resolution." "The Union Government has already shared details of where and how the Sethusamudram project could be implemented in Parliament. We never said the project cannot be implemented. I would be happy if the Sethusamudram project is implemented as I belong to the south of Tamil Nadu," the BJP leader said.
"We worship Ramar. If the project can be implemented without damaging the Ramar bridge, we are ready and willing to support it. We also have to factor in the environmental fallout, if any, while implementing this project," added Nagendharan. Meanwhile, the AIADMK leader Pollachi Jeyaraman said, "It pains us as the Assembly resolution mentions Ramar as a fictional character. There are as many as 100 crore devout followers of Lord Ram. We request that this reference be expunged from the draft statement of the resolution. Ramar is Avathara Purushar."
A grand waterway project straddling India and Sri Lanka, the Sethusamudram project proposes to connect the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar. The project is seen as key to bringing economic prosperity to the state and the country. Commissioned in 2005, the project came to a halt in light of protests by rightwing groups claiming that the project may harm the 'Ram Setu' bridge, which is believed to have been built by Lord Ram to reach Sri Lanka.
Environmentalists and activists, too, protested against the project claiming it might pose a potential threat to the environment in Rameswaram, the southernmost tip of the country. In the resolution, the DMK government had promised to complete the project while campaigning for the upcoming Assembly elections.