INDIA’S National Green Tribunal today (April 20) criticised the Art of Living organisation following comments by its founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, blaming the Indian government as well as the tribunal for damage to the Yamuna floodplains.
“You have no sense of responsibility. Who gave you liberty to speak whatever you want to. It is shocking,” a bench headed by tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
Two days ago, Ravi Shankar blamed the government and tribunal for permitting his organisation to hold the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna river bed, adding that they should be responsible for any environmental damage caused.
Ravi Shankar said his foundation had the required permission, including from the green tribunal, and that the event could have been stopped if the river was so “fragile and pure”.
An expert committee told the tribunal that the Yamuna floodplains were damaged because of a cultural extravaganza organised by the Art of Living last year.
A counsel for the AOL foundation, however, contested the findings of the panel and sought setting aside of the report.
The tribunal bench directed the foundation and other parties in the case to file their response and objection within two weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on May 9.