The Wire Quizzes Sri Sri on Ayodhya Dispute, Devotees Interrupt

The interview conducted by The Wire was stopped mid-way by Sri Sri’s followers, fearing controversy.

3 min read
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. 

An interview conducted by The Wire with Art of Living Founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the controversial topic of the Ayodhya Dispute was cut short by his followers when the anchor threw certain questions at him.

Sri Sri, who claims to be a self-appointed mediator in the age-old dispute between the Hindu and Muslim groups contending for the plot of land, had earlier said that if the court’s decision on the conflict was “not in favour of Hindus”, then India would witness a ‘Syria-like situation’ in the country.

Following questions on this statement and several others made in context of the conflict, Sri Sri’s followers forced Arfah Khanum Sherwani, who was conducting the interview, and her staff to shut the cameras and halt the interview.


However, before the interview was interrupted by Sri Sri’s supporters, Sherwani managed to ask him why he had warned of a “Syria-like situation” in India if the verdict wasn’t in favour of the Hindus. To which, the Art of Living Founder said:

I only said that a Syria-like situation should never happen in India. It’s only a prayer, what’s so wrong in that? 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in an interview with The Wire

In response to Sherwani’s remarks that his statement could incite violence between the communities, he said: “I have never threatened anyone. I passed comments based on the situation at hand. I don’t want the unity to go. I want victory for both sides. My words have been warped.”

On being asked why he said the Supreme Court’s verdict on the conflict was redundant, he said that what he meant was that the Court’s decision would rule in favour of only one of the contending parties. As a result of this, he said, the other community would be bitter and resentful and this could lead to clashes between the two.

Whatever the court decides, will be a universal decision and accepted. But what about how the people will be feeling in their hearts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in an interview with The Wire

Sri Sri said that the conflict was one of faith, and not merely restricted to being a “dispute over land”, as it so stands on paper.

Several times through the interview, he also mentioned that Chief Justice J S Khehar had said that the Supreme Court believes that the stakeholders of the dispute should settle the conflict outside its premises.

Speaking about Sri Sri’s emphasis on this, Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire said that the Art of Living founder was smart enough to “understand the difference between a court order and a court observation”.

Adding to this, he said:

He (Sri Sri) may have said that he’s been to Syria to spread peace and that people will be affected by the court’s decision, but what he basically means is that if this dispute is settled on a judicial basis, india will be petering towards a civil war. 
Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire

Discussing the conflicting answers that Sri Sri had offered in the interview, Varadarajan also said that the former’s “caution” of a “Syria-like situation” is a “strategic political move” to scare the people and is also in line with that of several right-wing Hindu organisations, that believe the favourable verdict would be the Hindus winning the disputed land.

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