Toxic Links behind the attack on Art of Living?

A deep dive into the forces arrayed against AoL in the NGT points to Toxics Link as a possible entity

A deep dive into the forces arrayed against AoL in the NGT points to Toxics Link as a possible entity
Is Toxics Link behind the case against AoL in the NGT?

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]ince March 2016 I have read with interest numerous media stories about the possibility that The Art of Living’s (AoL) World Cultural Festival (WCF) caused harm to the Yamuna. Given conflicting stories from both sides, I wondered about the truth and was waiting to see what the outcome of the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) hearings would be. However, a recent tweet from Subramanian Swamy, caught me by surprise:
Swamy's tweet about Sri Sri
I was intrigued. Why would Swamy allege that the complaint against Art of Living’s WCF was an organized attack on its founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a Hindu Guru? I decided to do my own fact finding.

My research into publicly available information on the petition against AoL began with reading the numerous articles and videos on the controversy. My intention was to find answers to the following questions:

  • Who are the people who form the consortium of petitioners and what are their backgrounds and links?
  • Who is providing funding support for the petition which has involved significant legal expenses which started in December 2015?
  • Is the NGT appointed “Expert committee” biased in any way or are its members truly independent of influence from the petitioners or other special interests?

Here are my findings based on information publicly available on the internet. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

The People Involved, Their Backgrounds and links

Sanjay Parikh
Manoj Mishra
Vimlendu Jha
Ravi Agarwal

The Funding Sources

The Funding Sources
Some notorious foreign funding agencies backing the petitioners against Art of Living that caught my attention are highlighted in the table below:

Toxic Links

  • Ford Foundation: considered a funding arm of the CIA for influencing policies and governments of foreign countries. PM Modi has taken legal action against it in the past for political interference through its funding of NGOs in India.
  • SIDA: considered a Trojan horse of the west for engineering regime changes.
  • Swedish Society for Nature Conservation: known for interfering in environmental issues the developing world through engineered public protests
  • Oxfam: known for supporting Evangelical activities in India and other countries.

Links between Petitioners and NGT Expert Committee

The facts and the links that I have unearthed in my research have raised the questions about the neutrality of the NGT Expert Committee. It is possible that there is collusion against AoL and a bias in favor of the petitioners’ nexus.

The NGT had claimed to have appointed a seven-member “independent” Expert Committee” to assess the alleged damage to Yamuna flood plains due to World Culture Festival Event.  However, the public needs to know if this expert committee is truly “independent”.

My research revealed the existence of many relationships between the consortium of petitioners, their lawyer and some of the Expert Committee members. Ravi Agarwal, is Founding Director of Toxics Link, along with Sanjay Parikh, legal representative for the petitioners, is a Board member. Toxics Links appears to be an influential NGO that has close links with the petitioners and the NGT Expert Committee members.   So far, I have identified the following links which leads me to question their ability to be neutral.
Toxics Link

Toxic Tree

CONCLUSION

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ased on the research presented above, I find Toxics Link, a foreign funded NGO, to have significant links to the petitioner against Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I ask the readers to also consider the following facts about Toxics Link (TL):

  • TL Board members have targeted Modi since 2002
  • TL Board members have supported Naxalites
  • TL Board members have supported terrorists like Afzal Guru
  • NGOs run by these petitioners are funded by foreign funding agencies that are known for destabilizing democracies and interfering in India’s policies.
  • Toxics Link is aligned with organizations like Sweccha that support evangelical activities in India
  • TL Board member is the lawyer fighting against Art of Living

I will let you draw your own conclusions about the significance of these links. The question is this: Can the current NGT Expert Committee be expected to be fair in its handling of the case against the WCF event held by Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?

The next logical point to ponder is WHY Art of Living/Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is at the receiving end given WCF generated a huge PR win for India and showcased India’s soft power and message of fostering peace to entire world. More research needs to be done on this aspect as there is no smoke without fire.

References:

  1. http://www.pucl.org/bulletins/2015/PUCLaug2015.pdf, pg. 10

  2. https://sabrangindia.in/article/arguments-zakia-jafri-case-implicating-top-netas-cops-and-babus-2002-carnage-conclude

  3. http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/31/sardar-sarovar-rehabilitation-supreme-court-to-appoint-high-level-expert-committee/

  4. http://www.legallyindia.com/the-bench-and-the-bar/sanjay-parikh-in-massive-win-for-greenpeace-as-delhi-hc-thaws-funds-frozen-by-home-ministry-20150120-5511

  5. http://pucl.org/admin/national_council.html

  6. http://www.indiaresists.com/pucl-statement-on-hanging-of-afzal-guru/

  7. http://yamuna-elbe.org/speakers/manoj-kumar-misra/ (click on the website indicated at end of the post). There is no proper website for “Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan”. Both NGOs do not have a site where public can get information on funding, board, etc.

  8. http://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grants-database/grants all?originatingoffices=%26RegionIds%3D5&page=2&minyear=2007&maxyear=2008

  9. http://myvoice.opindia.com/2016/03/ngo-which-questioned-aol-for-yamuna-has-burnt-1-crore-without-doing-any-ground-work/

  10. http://swechha.in/#aboutus

  11. https://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc_858_ferris.pdf pg 322

  12. Oxfam is accused of evangelism pg. 149

  13. http://www.sida.se/contentassets/1990c6bb0b354841a851e22c1582b6e4/increased-awareness-and-capacity-to-protect-the-environment-through-indian-ngos—review-of-swedish-support-to-the-centre-for-s_3751.pdf

  14. http://www.fordfoundation.org/work/our-grants/grants-database/grants all?originatingoffices=%26RegionIds%3D5&page=2&minyear=2007&maxyear=2008

  15. https://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/irrc_858_ferris.pdf pg 322

  16. http://www.sida.se/contentassets/1990c6bb0b354841a851e22c1582b6e4/increased-awareness-and-capacity-to-protect-the-environment-through-indian-ngos—review-of-swedish-support-to-the-centre-for-s_3751.pdf

  17. http://delhigreens.com/2009/11/18/toxics-link-public-lecture-series-screening-of-the-final-tide-at-iic/

  18. Prof Brij Gopal is panelist in a conference on India Rivers Week hosted by Toxics Link & Manoj Mishra’s organization Peace Institute Charitable Trust. https://www.internationalrivers.org/sites/default/files/attached-files/proceedings_of_india_rivers_week_2014.pdf

  19. Prof C R Babu and Ravi Agarwal (Director of Toxics Link) are part of Tree Authority. http://enews.toxicslink.org/partner-view.php?id=6

  20. Yamuna: By Brij Gopal and Manoj Misra at Living rivers, dying rivers series-Part V https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77j6UpN1IwQ (at 0:59 sec)


Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

28 COMMENTS

  1. An eye opener.Truth will prevail ultimately. congratulations to the author for his great research.

  2. All a bunch of lies. Possibly motivated. Mr. Parekh is a Senior Advocate fighting for saving Yamuna for a long time. Other than Mr. Manoj Misra, I am the other Petitioner. Please find anything shady in my background – an open challenge. If you do not get the Petitioners Correct, then ????????????????.
    Real fun would be when the release of enzymes is argued.

    • Same can be said about you Anand Arya and a bunch of Left loonies you represent who are your friends/petitioners.. WHY are you lying and blaming AoL of “destroying” Yamuna? We all from Delhi know Yamuna is a garbage pit for Delhi, one cannot stand for 5 mins near it.. Also, there are ILLEGAL encroachments, colonies on FLOODPLAINS of Yamuna, but your cabal’s heart does not hurt on that part..There is no “destruction” as can be seen from BEFORE and AFTER satellite pictures of Yamuna plains… Your cabal is against AoL/Sri Sri only because you all have an AGENDA, now it needs to be seen who is the REAL face/orgs behind all this, you guys are just the face.. AoL has rejuvenated 27 rivers and had started Yamuna cleaning in 2010 and taken out 300 tonnes of garbage.. where were you then? what have you guys done to clean Yamuna? ZILCH.. Your cabal is only good at throwing muck

    • Release of enzymes was clearly scientific and well tested. These were bio-enzymes that cut pollutants and disease causing germs and bacteria and not ‘pollute’! So if you have even basic understanding of biology and chemistry please phrase your argument rather than doing dramatic chest beating and pulling out your hair in mere lack of logical understanding or ability to talk sense. Cut the rhetoric and rant and stop maligning AoL or Sri Sri. Backgrounds of ppl like you should definitely be dug deep for you and your ilk are behaving like lunatics or should i say masquerading as so-called “saviours of environment”. Stop your shameless drama and bullshitting.

  3. It is common knowledge that environmentalists are generally aligned to the leftist ideologies and attending seminars by committee members can’t be cited as “link” enough to vitiate their judgement. In any case, the committee has to go through facts and give its judgement along with its rationale. It would surely be read by all and can be dissected for any bias. They would also be equally aware of its critical scrutiny as they know they are up against the Govt.
    If the point is that the case is taken up actively by people who may have a bias or critical view about anything ‘right’ or hindu, it is well taken. In the same breadth, AoL can’t wish away a hard scrutiny and escape punishment if they are found to have really damaged the floodplains. The bias of the petitioners do not absolve AoL of its environmental responsibilities. The way Ravishankar wavered regarding the panel’s finding & the penalty, initially taking a belligerent stand refusing to pay the compensation and later asking for time to pay and after the event, coming out with excuses for avoiding the payment, leaves much to be desired apart from being the least honorable behavior expected of him.

    While one can understand your anxiety from your perspective in terms of trying to save a hindutva guru, it would be more important and appropriate for us to show to the world that we are objective and not a bunch of hardliners who would support their flock irrespective of merits.

    • I don’t think you have read ANY of the hundred articles out there where AOL has been saying it had taken and was given all due permissions by all involved Govt agencies. When the mammoth infrastructure was put into place and invitations to all foreign dignitaries sent out, just few days before the event itself, NGT raked up this issue, went to Press with people like Vimlendu Jha coming regularly on NDTV (who is listed on his NGO Swechha as partner) and all these Left/Naxal/Evangelical Nexus started a campaign of hate against AoL.. So please do your research before insinuating something.. As Sri Sri has said in his Barkha Dutt interview, AoL could have held this event at other place if Govt did not give approval. So rather than nit picking on an org which has rejuvenated 27 rivers across India and ran Clean Yamuna campaign back in 2010 removing 300 tonnes of garbage by its VOLUNTEERS, you should and MUST look into WHY this Nexus of good for nothing people and NGOs are against AoL/Sri Sri.. And yes, targeting Hindu Gurus and Hinduism by this Left/Evangelical Cabal is a well known FACT, you can chose to live in denial but that doesn’t change Truth..

  4. Brilliant analysis and presentation. Is Toxic. Link spreading toxicity with thier strategic targets instead of reducing them?

    • This is the problem with most people like u ..they jst read sonething on FB and start throwing opinions..u mst do some research first..i worked with this grp for 3 yrs and i know both side of stories and also how are so called Govt. Works for environment..they are least concernd ..neither they want to do anything want to suppress people qho want to do some good..and the biggest problem we have maximum population who has no knowledge but keep following people blindly without any research.God save this country

  5. Sir send this no other reference articles to main stream media. I suggest you to forward it to Arnab Goswami of the newly instituted Republic channel. I’m sure it’ll be given due regard in bringing the truth. And I would like you to know that the so called Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaana was created to counteract the Meri Delhi Meri Yamuna campaign started by Aol in 2008.

  6. You are pointing fingers at some very credible organizations like Ford Foundation, SIDA and OXFAM and maligning their name just on hearsay.
    Don’t peddle shoddy articles in the name of research. You might have read a lot of articles as mentioned in your references, but I fail to see how they have translated in your article.
    The main premise of your article is that the petitioners are against Modi (an interpretation that you have made) and that the funding sources of the petitioners are dubious. I would urge you to prove your allegations against the funding organizations with some concrete proof.

    I support AOL’s stance on World Cultural Festival(WCF) but I feel that the case is weakened by articles like yours who try to show that a thorough research is done to prove your point.

    Please provide concrete evidence if you are levying allegations against credible NGOs who have been doing some credible work not just in India but across the world.

    • Tarun,
      I live in America. All these Charitable organizations are heavily influenced by the missionaries (we call them evangelicals here) and understandably they have an ulterior motives to defame all things hindu. Wait until they go after Ramdev, Jaggi Vasudev etc. They arent after Amma ( hugging amma or Amrutanadamayi) because she has put on display Jesus Christ’s image in the collage of images in her ashram. Almost all the NGOs operating in India will listen to the foreign agencies in order to continue to receive funding. Did you know the animal protection organization is called blue cross only because they want to propagate christianity through this charitable outlet.

  7. Thanks to the author for exposing the hidden agenda of some vested interests on the issue .we are confident that Sree Sree Ravisankar will simply handle the issue .He is our Jagath guru

  8. Oh wow… Great research. Such an eye opener. Thank you for the articles, very precise and to the point.

  9. Congratulations!!! It’s a Great Expose of Vested Interests behind #NGT Agenda, based on Facts … not Speculations. India must have thorough Public-Discourses on Policies which could shape it’s Destiny of ‘Akand Bharat’ … based on Facts, defeating such Hidden Agendas spread by Anti-Nationals. Thanks for this Service to the Nation!!!

  10. NGT is an interesting organisation headed by a retd. SC judge.In its list of “experts”, it seems to have mostly dominated by file pushers from IAS and Forestry dept .That too a civil aviation background babu scrutinising green issues..It reminds me of a chain smoker being appointed as a minister of health in “Yes Minister”.Having said that I still don’t understand why Art of Living has to hold the jamboree close to a river bed without taking prior sanction from the govt. department.During crooked congis regime these things are done by routine flouting all norms but BJP regime is expected to set a better example by following the norms/rules diligently .If the law is defective or unnecessarily restrictive then change the law.Having a law/rule and violating it is a no no.If art of living had taken all govt. permission, then it is a question between NGT and govt.

    • An ignorant comment. At least Google and research stuff up before trying to sound like an expert when in actuality you know the half-truth. AoL took permissions from all relevant govt bodies – I believe 21 of them. Go through the video and then try to be an expert.
      https://youtu.be/vmOlaD1O5rg

  11. Really TOXIC in the real sense, kudos to you Sir, it’s a eye opener hope government of the day takes note of it.

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