Opposition parties came together in Rajya Sabha today slammed the Narendra Modi government for allowing Indian Army to be used for a private event of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation
They alleged that the event itself on the ecologically fragile flood plains of Yamuna was an environmental disaster.
The government, for its part, defended ‘Art of Living’ guru saying his intentions could not be doubted as he was ‘committed to protecting environment.
The government claimed that the event was being organised with all permissions even though it was made abundantly clear during the hearing that several permissions including fire safety were not granted to the event.
Unsatisfied over the clarification, the opposition parties rushed into the Well shouting slogans, forcing a brief adjournment.
According to the PTI, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) gave notices under rule 267 seeking adjournment of proceedings to discuss the issue but the Deputy Chairman P J Kurien ruled that the former’s notice was not in order but he was allowing the issue to be raised as a Zero Hour submission.
Sharad Yadav asked “under what pressure was Indian Army deployed to build pontoon bridge for one person?”
Demanding immediate stoppage of the construction, he said, “What function is he (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) doing? Kya tamasha kar raha hai (what drama is he doing)?”
Kurien asked members not to criticise anybody who cannot come and defend himself in the House.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) asked “can Indian Army be roped in to assist a private function… it is highly irregular …
for Army to be called in to create facilities for a private function.”
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Ravi Shankar was committed to environment protection and the programme was “being conducted with all permissions and is not illegal.”
Azad said he was not against ‘Art of Living’ foundation or any cultural festival but was concerned about environment, bio-diversity and ecology.