The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday, December 7, stayed a two-day event of the Art of Living organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Thanjavur district. The event was supposed to begin on Friday.
The court has also ordered the Collector and the Superintendent of Thanjavur to submit their replies on the matter by Monday, December 10.
The order on event was issued because the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site where private functions are prohibited.
Sri Sri has decided to move the event venue to Cauvery Mandapam near Thanjavur Temple.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Charted Accountant states: “It is respectfully submitted that the said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji has conducted a meeting on the bank of Yamuna river in 2016 and the Honourable National Green Tribunal heavily came on the organisers of the meeting and imposed Rs 5 crore fine and still the litigations are pending before the court.” The petitioner further argued that he and many others are duty bound to save the structure of the temple that has been existing for many centuries.
Even before the PIL was filed, a small group belonging to Tamil Desiya Padhakaapu Yekkam staged a protest outside the event venue demanding that the event is called off.
This is not the first event of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar which invited controversies. Earlier, in March 2016, a group of environmentalists lashed out at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s three-day event called the ‘World Cultural Festival’. The National Green Tribunal said that the festival was responsible for causing damage and environmental degradation to the Yamuna floodplains.