Srinagar: Art of living’s program ‘Paigam-e-Muhabbat’ which was organized here at the lawns of the SKICC in Srinagar failed to stir up love among the audience. The programme which was to be addressed by Sri Sri Ravi Shanker not only ended in a jiffy after a brief commotion broke out in the stands, but Sri Sri Shankar had to be whisked away and dropped at a ‘high security zone’ hotel.
Sri Sri began his speech saying that he has been related to Kashmir since decades and can see ‘pain and agony’ everywhere.
“I can see the pain and agony everywhere. However, in the middle of it I see love in Kashmir,” he said.
The program which was scheduled to start 2 in the afternoon at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) Srinagar was to be addressed by Sri Sri, which though happened, but only for a few minutes.
He greeted people in Kashmiri, which nobody answered, as the first few rows were occupied by non Kashmiri’s and those who actually were of Kashmiri origin, and who had come early in the morning, were stuffed into the back rows with no arrangement of Public address system.
Reportedly, people from districts like Anantnag, Budgam and Baramull had come, not to listen to Sri Sri but they were told that some minister was going to address the rally where their issues will be resolved.
After the commotion broke out, police ran to the spot and tried to disperse the participants, which were later termed as a mere ‘crowd.’
“If New Delhi is ready to give me a role vis-à-vis Kashmir I will play it. Where ever and when ever New Delhi requires my service I am ready to offer it,” Sri Sri said while addressing a press conference here in Srinagar city.
Interestingly, Sri Sri faced some tough questions from the Journalists who forced a volley of questions to him on the situation in Kashmir.
He, however, dodged most of them. When asked if he is so close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi why doesn’t he persuade him to take a political initiative, he said: “I am not so close to BJP.”
Responding to a question he said that killings of humans should stop. “Whether a civilian or soldier gets killed, it is painful,” he said.
Sri Sri declined to comment over Ram temple-Babri Masji row while he condemned the killings of civilians in Syria.
When asked by some people who had come to attend his function at SKICC alleged they were brought there for some other reasons, he said he will talk to them and will know the reason of their disappointment.
He said, he is apolitical and wants peace to be restored in Kashmir.
“If there is injustice, I will stand for that. We should forget the past and think about future. We should heal the wounds. Kashmir is the issue of human suffering,” he said.
However, the people who attended the function said that they had come to attend the program for other reasons.
A teenage boy hailing from district Budgam said that he was told that he would be given a sporting kit and a good meal if he will attend the event.
“The person who arranged this all in our district told me that I will be given a sporting kit because I play cricket, he also promised a good meal,” he said, adding “nothing of that sort really happened. I came, along with others at around 8 in the morning and it is post noon, we were not even given a glass of water.”
Hailing from district Budgam, another elderly person said that he was promised that his Kisan loan will be waived off if attends the event at SKICC.
“The person who was doing the arrangements there in our district said that my loan will be waived off as some ‘big’ minister is going to be there,” he said, adding that nothing of that sort happened and only they were forced to sit under sun without a glass of water.
The organizers of the event who were rushing here and there when the commotion broke out tried to play a blame game and did not respond to several queries put forth by this reporter.
After the commotion, Sri Sri was whisked away in his car towards Hotel Lalit, where he was supposed to meet several delegations especially from the Gujjar and Bakarwal community.