Saturday, October 6, 2007

Govt plays down DMK's stand on Ram Setu

New Delhi/Kochi: The Government on Sunday sought to play down its constituent Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam's (DMK) stand on the Ram Setu issue that there was no historical evidence about existence of Lord Rama and said it "respected" the view of its southern ally. "That's his opinion. In a democracy, we encourage that", said Renuka Choudhury, Minister for Women and Child Development, on the sidelines of a conference. The DMK chief M Karunanidhi had on Saturday, broken his silence on the issue by supporting the first affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court which questioned the existence of Lord Ram. After the uproar by the Opposition, the government withdrew the affidavit along with the subsequent one filed with corrections.

The Minister said the government respected Karunanidhi's decision and the whole issue was being addressed by Congress party at different levels. "We respect his opinion. It's fine", she said when asked to comment on DMK chief's stand on the issue. To a question whether Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce, should withdraw his remarks suggesting Culture Minsiter Ambika Soni to resign, Choudhury said "I can't speak for him. He has to decide on this."
Meanwhile, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday said, it will take legal advice on whether to launch prosecution proceedings against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on the Ram Setu issue. Reacting to Karunanidhi's statement that Ram Setu was "not man-made and Lord Ram was an imaginary character," VHP secretary general, Praveen Togadia said, that Karunanidhi during his earlier innings as chief minister in 1972, when he held the additional charge of PWD Minister, had in a foreword in the Ramanathapuram district gazette, accepted existence of the Ram Setu bridge. "If he has gone back on the public document, he can be prosecuted," Togadia told reporters in Kochi adding VHP will take legal advice in this regard.

Coins, which are 1000-years-old making a mention about the Ram Setu, are available in Tamil. Even the Asiatic Society of Bengal, a well-respected body, also mentions about Ram Setu, he told reporters earlier. (PTI)
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