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PIL filed against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ashram for building on tank land

August 18, 2011

Originally posted at http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_pil-filed-against-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-s-ashram-for-building-on-tank-land_1575624. Thanks to ensomonkey for posting.

N Sriram Reddy, an advocate, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court alleging that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ashram, Art of Living, had constructed luxurious structures illegally on the water spread area of Udipalya tank at Kaggalipura in Bangalore South.

The high court on Friday gave the advocate six weeks time to produce documents proving the charge.

Reddy claimed that the Art of Living ashram raised luxurious structures at Udipalyakere, in survey number 46, Kaggalipura.

The advocate said that the tank was constructed in 1960 to provide irrigation facilities to farmers nearby. It had a registered catchment area of 42.52 hectares, and water spread area of 14.8 hectares.

The Art of Living ashram,the advocate held, had taken up land, reducing the tank to just eight or 10 hectares in area. Besides, there is now no space on the eastern, western or northern side of the tank.

The advocate has claimed that the land was acquired by the Art of Living ashram without legal sanction; yet, the department of irrigation did not take any action against the ashram.

The petitioner contended that the compound wall and structures erected by the ashram had blocked the flow of water into the tank.

The advocate sought a direction from the court to demolish all illegal structures on the water spread area of 14.8 hectares and the registered area of 42.52 hectares and canal length of 1.6 metres on the left side and 1.8 metres on the right side of the tank.

The petitioner further sought to restrain the Art of Living from constructing any more illegal structures.

The division bench, headed by chief justice JS Khehar, on a request from the petitioner, granted him six weeks to submit relevant documents.

The case was adjourned to October 10.The petitioner reminded the court that the Supreme Court had held that tanks be restrained only for irrigation purposes, and not be utilised for other activities.

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18 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:50 am

    A lawyer filing a Public Interest Litigation would have done it only after examining much of the related past records.

    And with such impunity SriSri is showing up in front of the Indian nation and tagging along with the likes of Anna Hazare. If you care to look at it closely, he is not supporting Anna or going against corruption. Its just a coverup. Aimed at what ? you should ask !!!

    AOL’s corrupt dealings can continue only if they retain the support of their existing base of millions of blind followers. So they have to create theatre where it will be so difficult for these blind followers to see any/all of such above deeds simply because SriSri and Anna are ONE. This is the power of association. It will be so hard to even think, let alone believe that the man that is hand in hand with Anna is hand in glove with other miscreants to effect scams such as the above.

    Take the power of association — Millions of simple good hearted, contributing volunteers have given Sri Sri a good name over the last 30 years. That the AOL empire is what it is today is because of all of the devotees. Its a collection of all of their goodness.

    It’s the followers that keep the organisation going.

    How long will it take the ruling government to taint Anna with the SriSri brush and therefore be dismissive of the whole movement. This is so wasteful ie.. SriSri tagging along with Anna. The common man and also Anna and his true supporters who will be the losers.

    In the Biological world this phenomenon has a name….. its called being a “PARASITE”. Are things getting so desperate, that to protect himself and his empire SriSri has to play with the aspirations and hopes of the common Indian.

    When I think of this I just shudder. Thank God I am out of there.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    August 19, 2011 6:02 am

    Is it where the current Radha Kund is located?

  3. Anonymous permalink
    August 19, 2011 6:03 am

    Radha Kund???

  4. Original Anonymous permalink
    August 19, 2011 11:19 am

    Radha Kunj is a park in the ashram next to the Lake. I don’t think its the radha kunj.. kaglipura is further down 2 kms on the road from Udipalya( where the ashram is. 2 kms from gate no 5. Some ashramite would need to give the exact details..

  5. Original Anonymous permalink
    August 19, 2011 11:34 am

    Sri Sri does support the tirade against corruption and the Jan LokPal, though he wishes for the judiciary to be left out ( reference his interview in a news channel). This one off case of Land acquisition is not enough to declare the organization as corrupt. We must honor the fact that as of now, even the Judge has not given his judgement on the matter. So one needs to wait before jumping to any conclusion.

    Is Sri Sri being diplomatic? I would say yes, he is not directly attacking the government. He says he trusts the vibrant democratic process of the country and he is not entirely in favor of hunger strikes. Sri Sri is not new to fasts. As he regularly fasts and keeps silence in the 9 days of Navratris.

    For once if we assume for arguments sake if AoL the org is corrupt even then it is miniscule to the level of corruption of the current Congress government ( in terms of the amount of money involved).

    Are Aol volunteers opportunistic? yes they are, attention seeking? yes they are , but corrupt is too strong a word for which I would like to wait and see the outcome of more such judicial cases in order to reach a conclusion.

    Sadhana did help me get rid of quite some negativity in me, though I cannot say the same about the other volunteers and teachers many of whom to seem to be a pack of wolves.

    • anonymous permalink
      August 19, 2011 11:50 am

      I wonder how long it will be before some advocate also looks into the original use of the land as it was given to SSRS’s father: it was given for the purpose of building a school for the poor children living in the adjacent villages. Not an ashram. This is why the land was a government gift. Is it possible that documents could have been changed over time for a fee? (Bribe) This is the only reason there is any sort of (very small) portion of the land being used for childrens’ schooling. Because it was the original condition of the land-gift. If you don’t call this corruption, I don’t know what is.

      About SSRS’s “fasting” during Navaratri: what’s the big thing about fasting? Lots of people fast. Have you ever been near him continuously during these 9 nights to see what he does and doesn’t eat? Try it sometime — you might be surprised as to what sort of “fast” he actually keeps during that time. I don’t think it means anything one way or the other about the man. But it’s just one more thing to impress people — that he fasts for 9 nights, blah blah blah. You obviously just don’t know.

      • Original Anonymous permalink
        August 20, 2011 3:13 pm

        Agreed .. I don’t know .. I am ready to call Sri Sri and Art of Living corrupt.. Infact I suspect many AoL elements of being shady… but I don’t have any proof against them.. So as of now I will not call them corrupt. Also have you been watching him fast. I have gone by the word of mouth of a few crazy volunteers who are close to him and are considered his devotees, but i know them personally enough to know that they are not liars.

        Some lawyer in Banglore should file an RTI about the land allotment to AoL.

        We need to take action and file suits if we have been aggrieved. Writing blogs is good, but it will be better if somebody takes one step further and takes actions against the wrongs by AoL.

    • user permalink
      August 19, 2011 12:27 pm

      i saw some vidoes on you tube about this aspect. i was suprised by that. it seems that big gurus have no time to care about paper verification (or they do it intentionally?) almost every guru who has build big ashrams has been reported to grab the land from someone…

      ministers (as we hear about them, mostly) are hyperselfish parasitic cold blooded bastards…not even worth comparing agianst.
      they and their relatives have multi billon dollars when they are supposed to earn like every other government ‘servant (wtf)’..sorry for going off the topic…but if ssrs or any guru comes even close to a minister in such case…the he would already be far far away from being spiritual…

  6. ex-cultie permalink
    August 19, 2011 2:14 pm

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone. However I’d invoke Hanlon’s razor here, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Ravi may or may not have intended to grab some or all of the land, but having been in and operated among the bowels of the ashram (though not on this particular case), I can say for sure there would have been a huge number of screw-ups during the land acquisition and construction, or for that matter any event or program of any significant size.

    The lack of thoroughness and precision in the organisation, something that is critical to the well-being of such a huge outfit, should be self evident to anyone who has worked at any level in AOL. Their legal missteps are easily covered or go unchecked thanks to a large number of spineless government parasites sucking up to his holiness.

  7. exaolteacher permalink
    August 19, 2011 3:59 pm

    See AOL it self is neck deep in corruption. it is not paying the lacs of service tax for teaching Yoga which is part of its package in Basic course and also sri sri yoga courses by declaring fee it collects as a donation. if it is donation why it is fixed amount for different city .In my opinion if it is donation it should paid voluntarily by the course participants.
    Art of living is simply using Anna movement to sell it self to masses.
    People who are watching the movement can see how crookedly the the AOL Teacher are to trying to stand in front of TV camera.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    August 20, 2011 2:18 am

    I have heard many times in the recent weeks, from volunteers working in the Ashram, that the full course money is not handed over. Sometimes none. And that this has been going on for a long time. And Sri Sri never did anything much about it. I know this was also true of the region where I had volunteered as a teacher. I realised that pretty late. It took a decade plus to actually get there for me. After I quit I was asked by some ex-colleague teachers. “Did you actually handover all the money you generated to the finance team ?”. That shocked me. Until then I knew that the system had a lot of holes, and that there were a few top hands (read senior and inner circle) in the money mismanagement and who twisted it to suit their personal requirements. Even so, the personal honour system would take care of these things.However, that it could have been common and a very prevalent practice amongst my peers…..that became very clear and apparent to me only at that moment. I showed me how naive I had been in my thinking. Once again a Re-affirmation that AOL group was not my satsang. The few true friends I had I still have. They dis-connected too along with me.

  9. Original Anonymous permalink
    August 20, 2011 3:45 pm

    The corruption in this case is not exactly not paying tax, but not using the money for social causes. And for posing as a charitable organization when there is no charity. Really we don’t want other organization who are really genuinely teaching yoga and using their donations for Social causes to be taxed.

    • exaolteacher permalink
      August 23, 2011 10:09 am

      @Original Anonymous
      if any organisation is not following the rule of the law regarding tax for increasing its income, it is corruption. Even if the money earned by stealing tax is used for social cause.

      • Original Anonymous permalink
        August 23, 2011 2:01 pm

        Charitable organizations are given tax exemptions by the Indian government, and AoL claims to be one, so the issue is that the trustees of this NGOs are generating profits, which is not supposed to happen, as charitable orgs and ngos are not supposed to provide monetary benefit to the trustees.

        Also rules of the law of the land are being followed to increase the income, legally if not morally. The problem is there with the expenditure, the expenditure is being used mainly for personal benefits of the trustees.

  10. August 22, 2011 10:32 pm

    One more case of land grabbing by Ravi Ravi aided by the deposed corrupt chief minister of karnataka:
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/185392/bsy-helped-aol-encroach-govt.html

  11. suneitha permalink
    August 23, 2011 12:23 pm

    land grabbing has coexisted with spiritual organisations across religions in india .. agni sridhar cannot be trusted he was the one who has confessed to being paid off by land mafia and missionaries and rival groups to defame hinduism and hindu social service organisations and ngos run by hindus and jains in india… agni sridhar is a petty criminal himself .. tv9 and cbi have investigated his claims to be false this maybe the darkside of aol and other such orgs but there may be a good side as well yes i know some aol teachers who are not rom well ioff or wealthy backrgrounds who pocket the money but then the ashram finance team covers up by saying they need the monay and are teachers so what if they take most of it atleast some of it is given back to the orh btw acc to new rules teachers are entitled to a 10-20% cut frm course fees depending on how senior, part time , full time what course they take etc.. and teachers and volunteers are doing some gennuine service like tree planting, educating poor kids in slums and villages, jail projects , creation of parks , blood donation camps, etc so theyve given aol a good name im sure ssrs wouldnt like to loose his millions of followers and funds by tainting himself like nithyananda also ssrs is the only one who has takenn a moderate stance in the iac movement..

  12. Monali Reddy permalink
    September 2, 2011 1:19 pm

    I’m so proud to say that my father has come forward and taken this up so seriously. If only the rest of the population of our free India does so, we could all live in EQUALITY and JUSTICE, like our Constitution grants. Well done dad!

  13. Subhas permalink
    October 16, 2011 6:33 pm

    Update @ http://ibnlive.in.com/news/high-court-sends-notice-to-art-of-living/193308-60-115.html

    “BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday issued notices to the Department of Minor Irrigation and Art of Living Foundation, following a public interest litigation by Bangalore- based advocate against spiritual guru and Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar alleging illegal encroachment of tank land and construction of illegal buildings.
    The petitioner, N Srirama Reddy alleged that the AOL foundation grabbed three sides of the Udipalyakere Tank in survey no 46 of Kagglipura, Bangalore South Taluk and constructed a structure, which disturbed the ecological balance of the tank.
    Reddy further requested the court to direct the Minor Irrigation Department to demolish all illegal structures constructed on the tank bed area spread over 14.8 hectares and on the length of the canal — 1.6 meters on the left and 1.8 meters on the right.
    The court directed the petitioner on August 12 to furnish relevant documents in this regard. On Friday, the petitioner produced documents on the encroachment of tank land and construction of illegal buildings by the AOL. After checking the documents, the court ordered notices to Department of Minor Irrigation and Art of Living Foundation.”

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