Jail over fine
IRONICALLY, India’s opposition and the Greenies had called on the Delhi and Federal Government to cancel the festival as it would damage the biodiversity of the banks of the Yamuna and the National Green Tribunal ( NGT) fined AOL US$ 750,000 ( RM3mil).
On the eve of WCF, The Hindustan Times reported : “WCF venue not fire safe yet, say officials”, “AOL festival an ecological disaster”, and “Cancel event, Opposition tells govt.”
When asked to pay the fine, Ravi Shankar said he would “rather go to jail than pay the fine.” He argued that he had not violated any rules, so, was not liable to pay any penalty. He said AOL foundation would challenge the tribunal’s order in the top court.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who addressed the people on the second day, sought AOL’s founder Ravi Shankar’s assistance in cleaning the Yamuna river.
“We are sitting along the banks of Yamuna river. We have taken several initiatives for cleaning it. If Sri Sri and our authorities work together, they can keep Yamuna clean,” he said. He added that WCF is a “historic and amazing event spreading the message of spirituality, love and peace.”
A highlight of the WCF was when former president of Nigeria, Matthew Offord, and member of British conservative party, read out a message from British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulating Ravi Shankar.
“I wish I was at WCF today. I invite Sri Sri to the House of Commons and the British Parliament. I assure you a great welcome. People say that no one can change the world but Sri Sri has already started,” the message read, as reported in the The Hindustan Times.
Dr Lawrence Carter, from the Parliament of World Religions, called upon people to nominate Sri Sri for the Nobel Peace Prize committee for organising such a great event and spreading the message of peace, love and harmony.
AOL also organised a Global Leadership Forum attended by more than 100 former prime ministers, presidents, ministers and leaders from various nations, which was attended by more than 10,000 international leaders.