Chennai: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday stayed a two-day event of the Art of Living organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Thanjavur district. The court has also directed the District Collector of Tanjore and the SP of Thanjavur to submit their replies by Monday.
Sri Sri has decided to move the event venue to Cauvery Mandapam near Thanjavur Temple.
A Public Interest Litigation filed by a Charted Accountant states: “It is respectfully submitted that the said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji has conducted a meeting on the bank of Yamuna river in 2016 and the Honourable National Green Tribunal heavily came on the organisers of the meeting and imposed Rs 5 crore fine and still the litigations are pending before the court.” The petitioner further argued that he and many others are duty bound to save the structure of the temple that has been existing for many centuries.
The event that was scheduled for December 7-8 triggered a controversy with Tamil Groups protesting that the event cannot happen inside the 1000-year-old temple, which has been declared a world heritage centre by the UNESCO. Even before the PIL came up for hearing, a small group belonging to Tamil Desiya Padhakaapu Yekkam staged a protest outside the event venue demanding that the event be called off.
Naladhurai, an activist, told CNN-News 18, “You go anywhere and conduct the program but not inside a big temple in Thanjavur. There are school and college grounds for programs to be conducted. The temple is a historical monument which is approved by the UNESCO and it is not a place for any religious sentiments and so we raised objections.
“The big temple is a secular temple. Lots of places are there in Thanjavur district where events can be conducted. No program will be conducted in the name of Ravi Shankar or in the name of any other persons,” said Jeevakumar, an activist.