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Fable or fact? Even ASI is perplexed over Ram Setu

Fable or fact? Even ASI is perplexed over Ram Setu

Author: Bahar Dutt & Prarthana Gahilote
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: September 23, 2007
URL: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/fable-or-fact-even-asi-is-perplexed-over-ram-setu/49192-3.html

Is the Ram Setu a natural or a man-made creation? It's now a question of faith versus science to resolve the Sethu Samudram dispute.

Fable or fact, even the Archaeological Survey of India doesn't really know. Sources within the ASI have confirmed to CNN-IBN that the ASI never conducted any study or investigation on the Ram Setu.

In fact, the Setu is not even recognised by the ASI as an ancient monument or a natural heritage site, and so, falls beyond its jurisdiction. Which means the controversial September 12th affidavit to the Supreme Court saying there was no historical proof of the Setu being man-made was submitted without conducting a study.

While the ASI bore the brunt of challenging faith and two of its officials awarded suspensions orders, sources in the ASI confirm that they would have conducted a study on the Ram Setu if they had been commissioned to do so.

But many at the ASI think the Setu should have been declared a natural heritage site long back.

"Conservation and preservation is today no longer limited to a single structure. It involves a whole setting of a historic site, historic landscape and in many cases these are very complex sites that have both the heritage and the nature associated with it," says Ritesh Nanda conservationist.

But headed and run mainly by bureaucrats, key technical decisions are perhaps being delayed, or just being taken at the ASI.

The archaeologists working with the ASI believes that the body cannot function without the expertise of specialists. They believe that the affidavit blunder could have been avoided if experts had been in charge.

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