Nation Current Affairs 08 Dec 2018 Madras HC ejects Sri ...

Madras HC ejects Sri Sri Ravishankar discourse from Big Temple

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | G SRINIVASAN
Published Dec 8, 2018, 4:28 am IST
Updated Dec 8, 2018, 4:28 am IST
Complying with the court order, the AoL removed all of its structures from the temple and shifted the venue to a marriage hall in Thanjavur.
Madras High Court
 Madras High Court

Thanjavur: The Madras high court on Friday ordered interim stay on the two-day event of Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living Foundation inside the Brihadeeswara Temple, also known as the Big Temple, here.

A division bench of the HC’s Madurai Bench comprising Justices K.K. Sasidharan and Audikesavalu also ordered the removal of the huge ‘temporary’ structure put up for the event touted as a ‘meditation camp’ inside the temple, a UNESCO World Heritage shrine over 1000 years old, while adjourning the case to Monday. Also, the district collector and SP were instructed to ensure that the temple was cleared of all the structures and furniture put up by the AoL for the vigyana bairavam by its ‘Guruji’ who had arrived in the state for the impressive show.

 

Complying with the court order, the AoL removed all of its structures from the temple and shifted the venue to a marriage hall in Thanjavur.

Sri Sri Ravishankar expressed displeasure at his show being ejected from the Big Temple.

“We have been conducting spiritual programmes all over the world. But staying the programme in our own district is regrettable”, said the preacher who hails from Thanjavur.    

"Denying permission to a Hindu to conduct a spiritual programme in a Hindu temple is regrettable", he told reporters after his lecture at the Vigyana Bairavam programme at the marriage hall.

 

Asked about the National Green Tribunal (NGT) slapping a fine of `5 crore on AoL for causing damage to environment by its 'World Culture Festival' held on the banks of Yamuna in 2016, Sri Sri maintained that his programme had "only cleansed Yamuna and did not desecrate or pollute the river".

It may be recalled that an expert committee set up by the government in 2017 had found that the AoL 'festival' had completely destroyed the Yamuna floodplain and it would take at least 10 years to restore it.

Passing the interim order hours before the event was to begin, in response to a writ petition filed at only about 11 am, the Madurai Bench brushed aside the AoL argument that the event was only a quiet meditation camp being held at a corner in the temple prakaram and that the necessary permissions had been obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the state HR&CE department.  How such permissions could be granted and the event be held at a shrine of such great heritage, that too risking damage to the ancient structures and the danger of fire outbreak, asked the court, pointing out that the 'meditation camp' could be held at a private hall.

 

The AoL counsel claimed that such private events had been allowed even earlier on the temple premises, but the state government denied this.

Heritage experts and some political parties raised protests on Thursday after pictures of the AoL pandal inside the temple hit the social media. It was said that over 800 participants were expected for the Sri Sri event. Following this, N Venkatesh of Kumbakonam filed a petition in the Madurai Bench of the High Court seeking ban on the event saying it could damage the 1000-year-old World Heritage temple. He also referred to the AoL being fined by the NGT for damaging the Yamuna river bank by holding an event there in 2016.

 

After hearing all the sides in this case, the court ordered stay on the event and directed authorities to remove all the AoL structures from the temple.

The AOL Foundation responded alleging that the agitation against the event could be politically motivated. But the heritage activists were overjoyed with the court verdict and wanted permanent ban against such events being held in the temple. "It is an irony that ASI which did not permit the installation of a statue of Raja Raja Cholan who built the temple, had given permission to a congregation like this", said P Maniarasan, co-ordinator of Cauvery Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu and Periya Kovil Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu. "Only the Sadhaya Vizha to commemorate the coronation of Raja Raja Cholan is held every year, nothing else", he said.

 

...
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur




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