“Are the ancient Hindu myths of a land bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka true? Scientific analysis suggests they are,” claims the promo of a show called Ancient Land Bridge to be aired at 7.30 am Wednesday on the Discovery Communications-owned Science Channel in the US.
The show puts the spotlight once again on the Ram Setu by quoting American archaeologists who say the 50-km stretch — between Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in India and Mannar Island off Sri Lanka — is man-made. The Ram Setu is also called Adam’s bridge.
The promo has got more than 1.1 million views since it was shared by Science Channel on social media 16 hours ago.
Smriti Irani, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, retweeted the promo video with the caption "Jai Shri Ram"; since it was posted earlier this week, the promo has been viewed 3.5 million times on Facebook and has over 230,000 views on Twitter.
जय श्री राम 🙏🙏🙏🙏 https://t.co/M85KFnyZIY— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) December 11, 2017
It is the belief of millions of Hindus that the Ram Setu was built by Lord Ram with help from an army of monkeys, to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana, described in the epic Ramayana.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the show reaffirms that belief. He tore into the previous Congress-led UPA government for its stand.
Addressing the media outside the Parliament, Prasad welcomed this revelation and stated that nobody could tamper with Ram Setu.
"It came to our knowledge that Ram Setu is man-made and the stones are thousand years old..we welcome this revelation. But would like to say that there should not be any kind of meddling or tempering with the sanctity of Ram Setu as it is a very important part of Indian culture," he added.
Echoing similar sentiments, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said it is an answer to the people who did not believe that Ram Setu is man-made.
"It is an international research. And the people who said that there is nothing like Ram Setu and it is just an Adam's bridge, it is an answer to them," he said.
In 2007, then union minister Kapil Sibal of the Congress had said that there is no scientific evidence to prove the Ram Setu is manmade but argued that people's faith should be respected. This was the government's submission in the Supreme Court, which was hearing a petition against a project to set up a shipping channel between India and Lanka.
Amid protests, the Congress-led government withdrew its affidavit in court.
"Those who filed the affidavit should explain now. The research has supported what the BJP has been claiming all along...The setu is part of our cultural heritage," Mr Prasad said.
Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said that his party always believed that Ram Setu exists.
"It was revealed long back by NASA, and the Ram Setu photograph was shown by Nasa long back and we all believe in this," he added.
An American science channel on Tuesday restarted the debate on the Ram Setu, saying that there exists evidence suggesting that the bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka was man-made not natural.
Science Channel, as part of a promo for an upcoming show titled What on Earth, has interviewed an archaeologist who says, "The rocks on top of the sand actually pre-date the sand. So there is more to the story."