Opposition members shouted slogans in the Rajya Sabha and demanded Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to reply how the army was involved helping the three-day private event that begins on Friday.

The "World Culture Festival", organised by the Art of Living Foundation, is awaiting a nod from a Delhi green court, which is expected to give its verdict later Wednesday over the pleas seeking its cancellation.

The mega-event marks 35 years of the foundation run by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar - a spritual guru for many, and considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well. The protesting members raised a stink in the Rajya Sabha over how the foundation was allowed to hold the event -- expected to draw some three lakh people - that threatens the fragile Yamuna.

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"There is this person (Ravi Shankar) who is saying he is doing a cultural festival, and you put the army there to construct bridges. The government should shut this down immediately. In 1,000 acres, they are doing this. It will destroy Yamuna," Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav said.

Some other opposition members got up and started shouting slogans "Save army" and "Rakhsa mantri jawaab do" demanding that the defence minister respond to their protests.As the ruckus grew louder, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury alleged that it was "highly irregular" that the services of the Indian Army are being used for such an event.

"Can the Indian Army be roped in to build pontoon bridges? It is highly irregular that the army is summoned to create facility for a private function," Yechury said.



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