Here's why there are protests over Narendra Modi unveiling Shiva statue in Coimbatore

Environmentalists have been urging Narendra Modi not to take part in Isha foundation's event over allegations of the NGO lacking environmental credentials

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the 112-foot-tall statue dedicated to ‘Adiyogi’ in Coimbatore on Friday on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. The statue will be unveiled at Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation in Coimbatore. The event is making headlines not because of the extravagant height of the statute but because of allegations over the godman’s environmental credentials.

Activists and environmental groups have been urging Modi not to take part in the event as the foundation has often been in the line of fire for violating construction rules and disregarding the environment of the region.

The protestors claim that their objection is not due to any religious reasons but only due to the hazards that the foundation is imposing on the environment. Speaking to reporters, Retired Madras high court judge D. Hariparanthaman said that the visit by the Prime Minister is likely to “interfere with the administration of justice” and may give legitimacy to the foundation’s actions.

They also claim that as the region is an elephant corridor, the constructions by the organisation will impact wild animals in the area.

However, the organisation has claimed that it has taken all environmental clearances before starting the construction. In a statement, the Isha Foundation said: “The accusations laid down in the petitions filed against Isha Foundation in the Madras High Court are frivolous and a compilation of twisted allegations… A no objection certificate from the district collector, Coimbatore for using wetlands for non-agricultural purposes has also been obtained. So the question of violation does not even arise.”

The Prime Minister will arrive at the Sulur Air Base on Friday evening and leave for the Isha centre in a chopper. Meanwhile, Modi on Friday gave “Heartfelt greetings and best wishes on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.”

Maha Shivratri which means the Great Night of Shiva is being celebrated on Friday in the honour of lord Shiva. While Shivratri occurs in every luni solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night and 14th day, but Maha Shivaratri is celebrated once a year in late winter February or March.

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