Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar claims he has reached out to the Islamic State militant group to try and bring an end to their violence. In an interview with The Independent published on Monday, he said dialogue alone will not help stop their killings because these “peculiar” militants believed “no one else has a right to exist”. He added, “...but once they are in prison, maybe then we will be able to change their minds.”

When questioned about the Hindu caste system, which in many ways continues to determine how a person lives, works, marries and dies in India, the 59-year-old leader said politicians “want the caste system the way it is”. However, he claimed caste was a question of profession not birth, and that “people from any caste can rise to any level”.

Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation he heads came under severe criticism for organising the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna floodplains from March 11 to 13. The foundation was fined Rs 5 crore by the National Green Tribunal for the environmental damage it caused during preparations for the event. While AOL denied the allegations, it paid Rs 25 lakh of the total sum on March 12, saying it will deposit the remaining amount in three weeks' time.