New Delhi: Already mired in controversy, the Art of Living foundation’s culture festival has suffered another blow with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe pulling out of the event due to security and protocol issues.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "MEA did not invite the President. The invitation was extended entirely by the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Foundation" when asked about whether Zimbabwe President has pulled out from the event due to security and protocol issues.
The Spokesperson also said Mugabe's pullout could have been due to the fact that currently there is no Presidential-level participation at the event but asserted that the MEA had nothing to do with the matter which was between the foundation and the Zimbabwean President.
Zimbabwe State-controlled ZBC TV reported, "President Robert Mugabe has called off his engagement in India where he was scheduled (to be) the guest of honour at the world culture festival.
"In a statement to the ZBC news, presidential spokesperson Cde George Charamba said the cancellation follows communication from the organisers of the festival acknowledging substantial inadequacies in protocol and security arrangements around the event."
The three-day World Culture Festival organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s foundation from tomorrow is scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Foundation been criticised for allegedly damaging the banks of the Yamuna river for building a massive stage for the festival. A case on the issue is before the National Green Tribunal....