SPG declares Sri Sri’s Yamuna event unsafe for PM visit: report | india | Hindustan Times
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SPG declares Sri Sri’s Yamuna event unsafe for PM visit: report

The Prime Minister’s security detail feels that the venue is too large and open, making it unsuitable for controlled access

india Updated: Mar 09, 2016 11:58 IST
HT Correspondent
Narendra Modi

An assessment by Modi’s Special Protection Group (SPG), an agency responsible for his security, has concluded that the venue of the festival is not secure enough for him to visit.(Photo by Ravi Choudhary/ Hindustan Times)(Hindustan Times)

Two days after President Pranab Mukherjee dropped out of the World Cultural Festival, to be organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation from Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed to be on the verge of skipping the controversial event too.

According to an NDTV report, an assessment by Modi’s Special Protection Group (SPG) has concluded that the venue of the festival is not secure enough for him to visit.

The Prime Minister was scheduled to inaugurate the event on Friday.

Environmentalists have raised concerns that the event, to be held on the flood plains of the Yamuna with the expected participation of 35 lakh people, could irreparably damage the area’s fragile ecosystem. The National Green Tribunal was expected to take a decision in this regard on Wednesday.

Read: Art of Living? Seeking joy on the banks of a river we’ve killed

The Prime Minister’s SPG team, however, has other concerns on its mind. It feels that the venue is too large and open, making it unsuitable for controlled access. Taking recent terror-related events such as the Pathankot airbase attack into account, an extra-large security cover would have to be extended to Modi. Moreover, officials said that unlike other events of this magnitude, security forces won’t have enough time to sanitise the World Cultural Festival venue ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.

A labourer stands over a World Culture Festival banner on a structure being constructed for the event on the banks of the Yamuna in New Delhi (AFP Photo)

Though the President’s decision to back out of the event has made security officials heave a sigh of relief, it remains to be seen whether Modi will follow suit.

Read: Green concerns, army deployment dog Sri Sri’s Yamuna event

The SPG makes an assessment of every venue likely to be visited by the Prime Minister, and later provides security cover in collaboration with the local police and other agencies.