VHP asks politicians to stay away from Ram Sethu issue


New Delhi : The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Tuesday called upon politicians and political parties not to make political capital out of the Ram Sethu issue and threatened a nationwide agitation unless the Sethusamudram canal project was abandoned.

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At its two-day meeting, which began here Tuesday, the VHP passed a resolution calling for a nationwide stir unless the canal project off the Tamil Nadu coast was abandoned. The project was hurting Hindu sentiments the resolution said, according to VHP’s publicity secretary Vinod Bansal.

Bansal said that VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia had asked political parties to keep out of the stir and leave issues relating to religious sentiments of the Hindus solely to the discretion of the sadhus and credible organisations like the VHP.

Though Togadia did not name any political party, he was clearly hinting at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is trying to whip up passions on the issue.

The BJP on its part has avoided criticising Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his DMK for actively promoting the Sethusamudram project. The VHP and BJP fear the project may damage the Adam’s Bridge, which they claim many Hindus believe to be the Ram Sethu mentioned in the epic Ramayana.

On Tuesday, the BJP demanded an explanation from the Congress on Karunanidhi’s statement that Ramayana was a fiction, terming it insulting to Lord Ram. The VHP chose to attack Karunanidhi and demanded an immediate apology from him.

Bansal said: “We condemn Karunanidhi and demand an immediate apology from him. The Hindus will never tolerate such insults to Lord Ram.”

On behalf of the VHP, Bansal expressed satisfaction over the withdrawal of the controversial Ram Sethu affidavit from the Supreme Court but warned against resumption of work on the project.

He also announced that the Bajrang Dal will not allow anyone who insults Lord Ram into the Ram Leela that will be organised all over northern India during the Dussehra festival.