In an affidavit pertaining to the Sethusamudram project, the Central government told the Supreme Court that there was no historical evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama or the other characters in Ramayana. The affidavit was filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), an organization under the Ministry of Culture, whose goal is to conduct archaeological research and protect India’s cultural heritage. This caused an arc of outrage and a political crisis. To control the political damage, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government withdrew the affidavit and suspended the concerned ASI officials. This makes sense, not so much for shielding the Minister for Culture, but for making unwarranted statements about the historicity of Rama.
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