Art of Liv­ing gets a day to pay `5-cr fine; PM to at­tend event

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents ■ let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Spir­i­tual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said he would rather go to jail than pay Rs 5 crore fine for or­gan­is­ing the con­tro­ver­sial World Cul­ture Fes­ti­val, to be in­au­gu­rated by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi on Fri­day.

The Na­tional Green Tri­bunal gave Ravi Shankar’s Art of Liv­ing Foun­da­tion time till Fri­day to pay the fine and said law will take its own course if it failed to do so. The or­der came a day af­ter the green court cleared the three-day cul­tural ex­trav­a­ganza de­spite fears of ir­repara­ble dam­age to the Ya­muna flood­plain’s del­i­cate ecosys­tem due to con­struc­tion de­bris. “We have not done any­thing wrong...we will go to jail but not pay a penny,” Ravi Shankar told news chan­nels. “This is like a cul­tural Olympics...nor­mally, some­thing like this should be wel­comed,” he said.

Zim­babwe Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe also pulled out of the event over se­cu­rity fears. Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee has al­ready an­nounced he won’t at­tend.

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