The National Green Tribunal saw unruly scenes Thursday during a hearing on a plea against holding Ramlila in a public park in east Delhi.
The petition, filed by a group of residents of Pandav Nagar, sought a ban on holding Ramlila in the park on the grounds that plants were getting damaged due to the event.
During the hearing before the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar, two persons stood up and protested against the petition, claiming a ban on Ramlila could not be imposed.
“This is going to hurt Hindu sentiments… if you ban Ramlila. We will not let the Ramlila be stopped,” said one of the protesters, Swami Omji, who belongs to the Ojaswi Party.
The bench had to call in policemen as the two protesters continued to hurl allegations against the petitioners, who had sought the tribunal’s intervention. The Janta Welfare Association in its plea had sought stopping of Ramlila performance in the park, stating the greenery was being destroyed and there was a threat to the environment and ecology of their area.
Advocate Balendu Shekhar, counsel for East Delhi Municipal Corporation, told the bench the issue was being considered by the civic body. One group of residents is against holding the Ramlila at the park, while another has asked the civic body to allow the event. The lawyer informed the bench Delhi HC had issued orders directing that any dispute regarding use of parks for public functions would be decided by the corporation.
The NGT bench made it clear it was not concerned with any other activity, except the environment, and disposed of the plea asking the civic body to take care of the trees and plants in the park. “These are events of regular nature. We can’t stop Ramlila. It is a public park and not your private property. We are here to protect environment. Don’t make an unnecessary issue…We are not concerned with anything besides environment and ecology,” it said.