The blame game on the Ram Sethu issue has begun. The government has assured that the person responsible for filing the affidavit will be dealt with and the entire matter will be re-considered. But will that be enough to put to rest the controversy that rocked the entire nation?
Experts feel that the first thing that needs to be done is to declare the Ram Sethu as a protected monument. Records show that till date the Ram Sethu or Adam's Bridge has not been declared as a protected monument/area or an ancient monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958.
The Archeological Survey of India justifies its stand of not declaring the bridge under the Act as it did not have an occasion to even make a prima facie determination that the said formation could be an ancient monument entitled to protection under the Act. The ASI also claims that it has not undertaken any study in this regard as yet.
Section 3 and 4 of the Act provides for the declaration of a site as an ancient monument of national importance once declared by the Central government. 'Even assuming that a formation or a structure or a building or site is an ancient monument, such fact of being a monument will not automatically deem it to be one of national importance,' says the ASI.
Legal experts point out that Ram Sethu can be protected only if it is brought under the purview of the Act. Even the ASI makes it clear that the power to declare any structure as a protected monument lies only with the Union government.
Not a man made structure:
Another interesting point to note is the reason why the ASI came to the conclusion that Ram Sethu was not a man-made structure. The ASI says that Ram Sethu is a natural formation made up of shoals/sand bars, which are possessed of their particular shape or form due to several millennia of sand action and sedimentation.
Further, the ASI justified its stand of the bridge not being man-made by stating that no human remains have been discovered at the site of the formation known as the Adam's bridge.
"The existence of human remains, whether in the form of bones or in the form of other artifacts, is primary to prove archeologically the existence and veracity of a historical fact."
Conclusions on Ram Sethu:
After having carried out reconnaissance surveys, bathymetric and sonar studies, sampling and drilling at several locations on the Adam's Bridge, the ASI came to the following conclusions:
- The Rameshwaram island evolved approximately 1,25,000 years Before Present.
- The Dhanushkodi sand pit appears to be a feature of coastal processes and shoreline emergence and its orientation appears to be along the dissipation of wave energy patters of Palk Bay and Gulf of Manor.
- The marine domain between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka [Images] was exposed between 18,000 and 7,000 years BP during which time it would have been possible for human beings and animals to travel on foot between India and Lanka.
- Rock and Soil samples show that the same being from the Upper Miocene period.
- The coastal areas around Mandapam, Rameshwaram and Adams Bridge indicate their revolution by a combination of various coastal processes such as palaeo sea level positions which led to the formation of beach rocks, coral growth, a series of islands known as Adams Bridge and the subsidence of the erstwhile Dhanushkodi township.
- The field geographical observations and drilling data confirmed that there were no indications or evidences of man made structures on the present day seabed or on the subsurface level between Dhanushkodi tip and the Adam's bridge islands within the exclusive economic zone limits of India.