Ignoring the observations of Indian courts, environmentalists, and NGOs, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, addressed Friday the inaugural ceremony of the World Culture Festival in New Delhi.
The festival is being organized by the Art of Living Foundation (AOLF), which many believe is the frontal organization of RSS, the parent body of Modi’s party BJP.
Headed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, AOLF has organized the World Culture Festival to spread BJP’s philosophy of Hinduism, although it is being promoted as a cultural show. The Modi government, it is said, has granted Rs 2.5 crore to AOLF, which is a private outfit.
From the scale of the planned event, it appears that money worth millions of dollars will be spent on an extravaganza which has no real purpose. It is not known clearly from where the entire money has come.
And the government also allowed over 1,000 acres of green area between Delhi and Noida destroyed for the event which was described by the Delhi high court as an ecological disaster.
The BJP government even deployed the Indian Army soldiers to build bridges for the private song-and-dance show.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), which is established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, on Wednesday slapped a fine of Rs. 5 crores on AOLF but allowed the event to happen. Ravi Shankar has refused to pay the fine.
NGT’s order was based on pleas by NGOs and environmentalists who had demanded the cancellation of the event on the grounds that it will cause damage to the ecosystem around river Yamuna, as AOLF has destroyed a complete forestry to erect artificial structures.
By attending Ravi Shankar’s event, Modi has supported a man who has no respect for the environment and who has made a mockery of the Indian courts by ignoring their orders.
It is said that the event is mostly being attended by RSS and BJP workers because it has no real purpose for normal people.
Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau