Friday, September 14, 2007

Haratalika Tritiya, September 14, 2007: Government bows down to pressure

The day is known in Hindu calendar as Haratalika Teej, a very auspicious day, and celebrated to remember the hard perseverance of Mother Parvati which even made the sannyasi Lord Shiva give in to her demand and marry her. Hindu society remembers the day as the day of perseverance indeed. Even the Hindi word 'Hartaal' meaning strike, is inspired from Haratalika.

So, it was this day, when Government of India gave in to the public outrage and bowed down. The government withdrew its two affidavits, including the controversial one filed by the Archaeological Survey of India that had insulted religious sentiments and kicked off the furore all over India.

Appearing before a bench of Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium requested 3 months of time for the Union government to reconsider all the aspects of the Sethusamudram project. Government gave its commitment not to damage Ram Setu in any way during this 3-month period. ASG however added that the dredging would continue without impacting Ram Setu.

Subramanyam told the Supreme Court that the government will form a committee shortly, which will be entrusted with the task of hearing the grievances of the people including the petitioners on this issue.

"The government has total respect for all religions, and Hinduism in particular, in the context of the present case. The government is alive and conscious of religious sensibilities, including the unique, ancient and holy text of Ramayana," the ASG told the court.

"The government is also keen that its decisions bind and bring the society together rather than cause any disruption in the religious and social psyche of one true India," Subramaniam said.
Promising to examine issues relating to the Sethusamudram project, the government sought three months' time from the court. In accordance with the government's request, the court posted the matter for hearing in the first week of January, 2008.

It was further submitted that the matter pertaining to the Sethu will be decided as per the suggestions and feedback given by the general public. He also said that people could write into the government with their suggestions as it may be difficult for the committee to give each one a personal hearing on the matter.

Meanwhile, even the communists who are always on the forefront to insult the Hindus, came forward to criticise the government too. Veteran CPI(M) leader
Jyoti Basu today said the UPA government's withdrawal of affidavits filed by Archaeological Survey of India in the Supreme Court on the Sethu Samudram project was prompted by electoral consideration. "They (UPA government) did one thing in the court one day and just the opposite the next day. All these are being done with an eye on the elections," Basu told reporters after attending a meeting of the CPI(M) state secretariat.

Another CPI(M) politbureau member
Sitaram Yechury told reporters in Shimla that CPI(M) had taken serious objection to the Centre's affidavit in the Supreme Court on Ram setu issue and sought stern punishment for the guilty. "It is improper to interfere in the religious affairs of any community as the Constitution provides protection to all religions in the country," he said.

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