RSS believes that by creating another Shri Ram controversy it can catapult its protégéé, BJP, into power. After all, the only time BJP made real electoral progress was during the Ram temple campaign. Whatever ground it holds today was gained in those days.
A leading figure of the Ayodhya campaign Ashok Singhal recently announced in New Delhi that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (an RSS offshoot) would launch a massive agitation if the Ram Sethu (known as Adam’s Bridge elsewhere) was removed to cut the proposed 167 km. channel across the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka.
That would create a direct passage to Sri Lanka and do away with the need for circumnavigation, thus reducing sailing time by a full 30 hours. Singhal and Co. declared that the tombolo was part of Hindu history as it was built by Shri Ramji and his army to cross into Sri Lanka to invade that country and free Sitaji from Ravana’s captivity.
Like the Ayodhya episode the Sangh tried to make its claim scientifically substantiated. Singhal, supported by a fake scientist “Dr” Puneesh Taneja, claimed that even the US space agency NASA had said that Ram Sethu was man-made. Taking “man-made” to mean built by Shri Ramji, Singhal threatened a nationwide stir if the tomobolo was touched.
Contrary to Singhal’s claims, NASA never said Ram Sethu was man-made. Rather it calls the Sethu a tomobolo, that is, a bar of sand connecting one island with another. Singhal’s claims were based on “Dr” Puneesh Taneja’s findings. Taneja in his visiting card designates himself as an “ISRO scientist”, but the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) director knows no such person. Taneja’s visiting card says he is an additional secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, which is yet another fraud.
Taneja is a RSS pracharak. When the Indian Express brought this fraud to light the RSS announced it would remove “Dr” Taneja from his position as a pracharak.
The VHP is yet to announce the withdrawal of the threat to create trouble all over the country once again. It does not have any use for the Geological Survey of India’s finding that the Sethu is not man-made, but a result of sedimentation of clay, sandstone and limestone. If trouble-making can put you in power, you have hardly any reason to be reasonable. Quite obviously, Mr. Singhal would never let go even if what he claims as truth is proven to be a forgery.g
Mohammed Ataur Rahman