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Ready to go jail, but won’t pay fine: Ravi Shankar on Yamuna fest

Defending Art of Living over the World Culture Festival, founder of the organisation and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said not even a single concrete material has been used to build the structure. He claimed that the set up, which is spread in an area of over 1,000 acres, is a dismantable and a temporary structure.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-AV

Maintaining that they had done nothing wrong, Sri Sri said he will contest Rs. 5 crore fine imposed on the Art of Living by the National Green Tribunal. “We are right and won’t pay the fine. When we asked DDA before removing the debris, we were allowed to do so at our own expenses,” he added.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cleared the World Culture Festival despite fears of damage to the ecosystem, but said the foundation will have to pay the fine.

“We have not done anything wrong…we will go to jail but not pay a penny,” the 59-year-old self-proclaimed spiritual leader said.

Responding to the charge by the Opposition parties that the government went out of its way to grant permission for the World Culture Festival, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “I request them not to politicise this. We haven’t taken any favours. This is an event of very big magnitude. It is bigger that FIFA, World Cup …”

“This is like a cultural Olympics…normally, something like this should be welcomed,” he said.

He also requested all party leaders not to politicise the issue and maintain an “optimism” about the same. “I request everyone not to politicise the issue. Have sent invitations to everyone including Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

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