An upcoming show in Discovery’s Science Channel to be aired in the United States has suggested that the Ram Setu, a chain of limestone shoals between India and Sri Lanka that, according to mythology, was built by an army of monkeys commanded by Hindu god Ram, appears to be man-made.
“There are stones that have been brought from afar and set on top of the sand bar,” a geologist is heard saying in the promo for the show, while an an archaeologist says that the rocks on top of the sand predate the sand. “So there is more to the story,” she adds.
Soon after, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said they feel vindicated by the scientists’ position.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Ram Setu is an important part of Indian heritage and nobody should tamper with it.
It was already known that the bridge is man-made, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told ANI. “The US scientists have come forward to say what we already knew...I have said this in the Supreme Court itself that three retired directed generals from Geological Survey of India gave a report, which was placed in the apex court to show that this is man-made.”
Union Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party has had a very consistent stance on the issue. “The Ram Setu has to be respected, and we believe in the existence of Lord Ram.” The party is not apologetic about its love and affection for Ram, he added.
In November, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to clarify if it wants to remove the Ram Setu or protect it. The bridge has been embroiled in controversy since 2005 after the government’s Sethusamudram shipping canal project was planned. The project required dredging in the region and has been opposed by several groups, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as the canal’s alignment would involve cutting through the Ram Setu.