After President, Now PM may also back out of Art of Living event
- pt team
After President, Now PM may also back out of Art of Living event

New Delhi: After President Parnab Mukherjee backing out from attending the World Culture Festival being organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also unlikely to attend, said sources on Tuesday, reported CNN-IBN. As per report the Special Protection Group, which provides security to the Prime Minister, has cited security concerns.
According to the sources, agencies fear major stampede because of poor evacuation plan in case of any emergency. Only two pontoon bridges are in place even though seven bridges were proposed.
The sources said that river bed is not safe to accommodate such a large gathering. And no security agency is ready to certify safety of stage, the sources said.
The Art of Living has told the National Green Tribunal that police have not yet given them permission as fire clearance is still pending.
The Prime Minister was scheduled to inaugurate the event on February 11.
The sources said that the Prime Minister is still considering whether to attend the event or not.
The decision came just a day after President Pranab Mukherjee cancelled his plan to attend the three-day event. "The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances," an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan had said on Monday.
The Art of Living foundation, which is organising the function, will have yoga and meditation sessions, peace prayers by Sanskrit scholars and traditional cultural performances from around the world.
The three-day event will be held from March 11-13 on the west bank of Yamuna to celebrate 35 years of The Art of Living foundation.
Now, with just two days to go before his heavily-advertised mega-festival is to begin in Delhi, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is not the only one confronting the displeasure of India's top environmental court. 
NDTV reported that the Union Environment Ministry was asked by the court today to explain whether it had taken any steps to prevent damage to the fragile ecosystem of the venue - the banks of the River Yamuna in Delhi. "Protecting the river is your prime responsibility," the judges said at the National Green Tribunal.  The ministry will deliver its response tomorrow.
The Delhi government today said that neither fire safety clearances nor police permission have been sanctioned so far for the event.
The court has been asked to cancel the three-day World Peace Festival which will include lectures and mass meditation sessions by activists Anand Arya and Manoj Mishra  who warn of irreversible environmental damage, a claim denounced by Sri Sri.
Amid the surging controversy, President Pranab Mukherjee, who had agreed to attend the event along with other VVIPs like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has cancelled.
Sri Sri's Art of Living Foundation will explain in court tomorrow if it carried out a survey to assess possible environmental damage. It has also been ordered to clarify how many attendees are likely -the court pointed out that ads stressed 35 lakhs, while the organizers at today's hearing suggested about two lakh people will be present at any given time.
The Army's role - it has been used to construct temporary bridges over the river- has also been questioned. The Delhi government said in court today that "pontoon (or floating) bridges are sanctioned only if there is a flood alert.
The Delhi Pollution Committee said that it had informed the organizers that they don't issue clearances for cultural events, but the agency's representatives also told the court that when they were approached, "the entire picture" of the scale of the event was not clear.
(Courtesy : CNN-IBN and NDTV,Photo Credit: Vimlendu Jha, Scroll )


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