Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who arrived in New Delhi Monday to attend Art of Living's World Culture Festival, reportedly flew back home after organisers apprised the presidential office about inadequate "protocol and security arrangements" at the event.
Mugabe, accompanied by his press secretary George Charamba and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, had come to attend the three-day event as the guest of honour.
"His Excellency, the President Cde RG Mugabe, has called off his engagement in India where he was scheduled to be guest of honour at the World Culture Festival. The event, which is a celebration of peace in multiculturalism and ecumenicity, was scheduled to begin tomorrow (today) March 10, 2016," NewsDay quoted Charamba as saying.
"The cancellation follows communication from organisers of the festival acknowledging substantial inadequacies in protocol and security arrangements around the event. A number of leaders slotted for participation, including those from the host country, have also withdrawn their participation. The president is expected home in a couple of days," he added.
Earlier, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee had also cancelled his plans to attend the event. Later, prime minister's special protection group reportedly said that the venue of the event was "unsafe" for Narendra Modi, who was scheduled to inaugurate the event.
The event, organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's foundation Art of Living (AOL), is scheduled to begin March 11, but is facing roadblocks as environmentalists raised objections to the construction of roads, ramps and pontoon bridges on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi.
The organisers were also criticised for levelling the floodplains to set up a gigantic structure for the stay of about 3.5 million people expected to attend the event.
A National Green Tribunal court Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs five crore on the foundation for causing "drastic damage" to the banks of the Yamuna.
AOL founder Ravi Shankar earlier said his foundation would not pay the fine. "We have not done anything wrong...we will go to jail but not pay a penny," NDTV quoted him as saying.
The foundation has reportedly resumed the work for the festival being organised to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the foundation, however, the NGT has warned to cancel the event if the organisers does not pay the fine to the Delhi Development Authority by Friday.