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Art of Living yoga centre set afire in Pakistan

Last updated on: March 09, 2014 19:07 IST

An Art of Living yoga centre on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital has been set afire, allegedly by unknown miscreants, the police said. The centre, which is based in Peace Street in Bani Gala area, was set on fire on Saturday evening after some people reportedly entered the premises asking for money, Islamabad police sources told PTI.

"There were just two guards there. Around eight people came and asked where the money was kept. On told that they didn't know, the guards were tied up and the building was set on fire," a source said.

The culprits fled the scene after the incident. However, Meena Gabeena, an official at the centre said, as per her information, the attackers did not speak a word.

"They just tied the guards and set the building on fire," she told PTI. Gabeena also drew attention to a recent programme aired by a news channels which had made some allegations against the centre.

"It is shocking! The centre has the capacity to house 60 people. Fortunately, this weekend, the venue of the stress-elimination program had been moved to Nankana Sahib," said Shahnaz Minallah, Faculty, Art of Living, Pakistan.

No casualty has been reported.

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had visited Pakistan in 2012 and inaugurated the centre for his Art of Living movement. He had also offered to hold talks with the Taliban to usher in peace in the region, saying it would help foster understanding among people with divergent views.

"I am ready to go and talk to the Taliban. I want to talk to them, understand them and give them my opinion. So we can definitely make a difference. We should try it again and again even if we have to try it 100 times," Shankar had said.

The Art of Living operates globally in 152 countries.

with inputs from PTI

Photograph: The damaged Art of Living yoga centre

Vicky Nanjappa