Will go to jail but won't pay: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on paying Rs 5 crore to NGT

New Delhi: Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday said he does not mind going to jail if the court wants him to, but declined shelling out money for the imposed fine.

Asked during an interview by a TV channel if he would go to jail having refused to pay the fine for the three-day International Culture Festival proposed to be held in the Yamuna floodplains here, Ravi Shankar said: "Yes, I will".

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a file photo. Reuters

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a file photo. Reuters

He also said that he would not pay the fine of Rs 5 crore slapped by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The NGT, which found several environmental violations by the organisers, blamed the delay on the part of environmental activists in raising the issue before it which compelled it to grant permission for event.

However, on Wednesday, the green court gave a go-ahead to the World Culture Festival, organised by Art of Living Foundation, on the condition that it pay an advance fine of Rs 5 crore.

The spiritual guru also said that the structure being made for the event was temporary and will be dismantled after the event.

"The structure created for the event is temporary and will be dismantled after the event. We wanted to create awareness about Yamuna through this event," said Shankar.

On Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee decided to pull out of a cultural extravaganza being organised by Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as a controversy raged over the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday and the President was scheduled to attend the valedictory function on Sunday. "The President cannot attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances," an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan said on Monday.

The AOL Foundation expects 35 lakh people to attend the function, concerns have been raised by experts about the likely damage to the environment that may be caused by holding it on the flood plains of the already polluted river in east Delhi.

The AOL 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 11-13 March.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Mar 10, 2016 19:39 PM

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