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Inviting all honest environmentalists to study the case and unveil the truth.
The NGT can never get over the blot it has brought on itself by delaying natural justice to the Art of Living and allowing its own committee to malign the law-abiding organisation in the media.
The Art of Living had obtained all the necessary permissions including the NGT’s. The application was pending before the NGT for 2 months before the event. They could have stopped the event in the beginning if they wanted to. It defies all principles of natural justice that you give permissions and slap a fine for not violating any rules! This is like giving a “challan” to someone on a green signal!
If at all any fine has to be levied, it should be levied on the Central and State Governments and the NGT itself for giving the permission. If the Yamuna was so fertile, fragile and pure they should have stopped World Culture Festival at the very beginning.
A historic program deserving of applause and appreciation is unjustly projected as a crime! Witnessed by 1.8 billion people all over the world and a massive turnout on the ground, a floating stage of 7 acres without any foundation (a marvel in itself!) the event polluted neither air, water nor land. The world over cultural programs are held on riverbanks.
The whole idea was to bring awareness to save the river. The Art of Living that has rejuvenated 27 rivers, planted 71 million trees, revived several ponds is being projected for destroying a dead river. What a Joke!
The silence of the so-called experts on the debris being dumped there and permanent structures coming around exposes their malafide intentions.
Over and above this, the closeness of the petitioner to the committee raises serious questions for which the Art of Living has filed a bias application, which is pending.
The saviors are called destroyers and the giver of justice is penalizing the honest! Thanks to technology, all allegations against the Art of Living stand disproved by the data available on Google Earth since last 10 years.
I invite all honest environmentalists to study the case and unveil the truth.
I have full faith in the Indian judiciary and am confident that our courts shall uphold the truth and penalize all responsible for the extreme defamation and harassment that has been meted out to the Art of Living.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
THE ART OF LIVING’S LEGAL TEAM FURTHER STATES:
The Art of Living is extremely hurt and upset with the reports submitted by the so-called committee of experts, constituted by the NGT, particularly the wholly baseless allegation that environmental damage was caused to the Yamuna river/river bank, by the WCF.
The committee of experts has acted in the most irresponsible and patently biased manner.
Firstly, they callously made lofty claims that Rs. 120 crores will need to be spent to rectify the alleged damage. No honest or responsible body of experts would have made such a statement, only on the basis of what was later admitted to be a “visual assessment.”
The Committee further compounded its biased conduct when Mr. C.R. Babu gave an interview to the media (and that too before doing any scientific assessment) blatantly canvassing the Petitioner’s case.
Would an unbiased independent committee constituted by a Tribunal give such a media interview? What more do we need to do to show the Committee’s obvious bias?
After the event, this same body was asked to give another report, and since there was no scientific basis for its motivated claims made earlier, it simply made up facts to somehow support its earlier statements (including statements made by them to the media). They did this by saying that there has been environmental damage. However, since its earlier claim of Rs. 120 crores could not be supported by any stretch, the committee deliberately omitted to quantify the damage, leaving it vague. One can only guess why a committee who, prior to the event, could say 120 crores on the basis of a visual assessment, after an examination, was hesitant to mention any figure whatsoever. Clearly, the findings on the ground could not support any allegation of environmental degradation and thus the committee was unable to say anything.
When asked by the NGT to again go and give a proper assessment quantifying the alleged damage, the latest report has now come, where they allege that the damage caused can be quantified at about Rs. 13 crores. They also say that to revive the entire area a sum of about Rs. 42 Crores needs to be spent. Again in this Report, they say that these numbers are not accurate and further study is required. In fact, during the assessment, no scientific tests have been conducted. Matters like compaction have been assessed without tests !!! No genuine expert can justify such baseless findings.
Can a body of experts ever be so unsure and unclear about its own findings? Clearly what has happened here is that a committee is trying to support its earlier claims, which were irresponsibly made, admittedly in the absence of any study or examination on the ground. Since the scientific data could not support the finding of any environmental damage at all (leave alone to the extent of Rs. 120 crores) the committee is writing its report only to save its own face.
It is on account of the biased and irresponsible attitude of this committee, that the Art of Living had, even prior to their visit to the site, filed an application before the NGT reconstitute the committee with unbiased independent experts. This application has not yet been heard. The Art of Living has also filed an Application for permission to cross-examine the expert committee. The Law of the land says that an expert’s report cannot be accepted as proved unless the experts offer themselves to cross-examination. This Application has also not yet been heard. In fact, the NGT is yet to hear the case on merits. However, even before it can hear the case on merits, it has allowed Art of Living to be maligned in the media. It is as if the Art of Living has been penalised without giving it an opportunity to be heard.
Satellite images clearly show that the WCF has not caused any damage whatsoever to the Yamuna or its floodplains.
Truth will always Triumph;
However before that, lies will have their dance.
Just wait and watch!
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) April 13, 2017
The Art of Living's Official Statement regarding the inconsistencies and falsehoods of the NGT Committee! pic.twitter.com/SYos14Uo2g
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) April 13, 2017
Facts about NGT: The NGT committee is biased and unscientific, lacks credibility
Blog post: Strange Are the Ways of Karma
Blog post: Yamuna and the World Culture Festival
Testimonies of World Leaders: The World Culture Festival 2016