2ND JUNE 2001
Mayapur Invasion Fiasco Spreads to British Media
Just how much of
a huge public relations disaster the failed violent coup by
Mayapur's thugs was can be seen by the fact that news was
immediately broadcast throughout the Indian media in Great Britain
and other countries outside India. On May 5th, Asian Voice,
the English supplement to Gujarat
Samachar, the best-selling newspaper serving the large Indian community outside India, carried the following article:
ASIAN VOICE, MAY 5th, 2001
*** ISKCON Power Struggle Spills on to Streets ***
An acrimonious power struggle in the Kolkata chapter of the global Hare Krishna sect in India is spilling onto the streets with devotees belonging to rival groups clashing in the open with sticks and stones. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) devotees belonging to two rival camps clashed outside its Albert Road temple last Friday, forcing police to intervene and arrest seven of them to restore order, police said on Saturday. Trouble had been brewing in the organisation for some time now, with a section of senior Iskcon monks and their supporters trying to force the order's Kolkata chapter president Adridharan Das to quit his post.
On Friday, a group of about 50
followers, who apparently support Jayapataka Swami and Bhakti Charu
Swami, two of Das's detractors, tried to forcibly evict the
president, whose supporters in turn resisted. A free for all ensued
in which the clashing devotees used sticks and stones. According to
ISKCON sources, Das had made many adversaries within the order after
he filed a case in the Calcutta High Court about a year ago against
more than 70 senior functionaries of the organisation challenging
him president 20 years ago, further told reporters that he was receiving regular death threats since filing the case. Das said there was tension in the temple. Police are posted in the area as ISKCON devotees opposed to Das are camping at the temple.
Unfortunately the UK branch
of the GBC lie machine had still not learned its lesson from this
debacle, that the best approach was simply to have behaved in a
Vaisnava manner in the first place, and thus immediately swung into
action. Bimal Krishna Das, the 'Public Relations Officer' from
Manor, wrote to the newspaper the next week, and reproduced one of the bogus cover-up reports mentioned in the last article.
We hit back, and the June 2nd issue reproduced the following article in full on page 2, under the large, eye-catching headline: "Bimal's Biased Cover- Up" (in fact, you couldn't miss the article, even if you tried!):
ASIAN VOICE, JUNE 2nd, 2001
*** BIMAL'S BIASED COVER-UP ***
I write in response to an article
which appeared in the Asian Voice on May 12th, entitled "Clearing Up
ISKCON (Calcutta) Dispute", which was submitted by Bimal Krishna Das,
the public relations officer of ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor. The
article in question claims to point out inaccuracies in press
Swami Prabhupada founded ISKCON in
1966, and by 1977 it had spread all over the world. Unfortunately,
after his departure in 1977, 11 of his foreign disciples hijacked
the movement for themselves, artificially declaring themselves 'Guru
successors' to Srila Prabhupada. ISKCON Calcutta, along with other
temples in India and elsewhere, have organised themselves into the
"ISKCON Revival Movement" (IRM). The IRM has been fighting to remove
ISKCON of all these bogus Gurus, who now number 80, and also now
include Indians as well as foreigners. ISKCON Calcutta is also the
Bimal Krishna however attempts to cover up these facts in his article printed on May 12th.
Bimal Krishna ends his supposed 'accurate' report by stating that: "One thing I am certain of is that many more reports will come out on this subject and not all of them will carry unbiased news."
However Bimal omits to mention that his own report is itself biased. The facts:
1) His 'report' is merely the reproduction of an account written on April 30th by Bhadra Balarama Das, who was one of the 67 'devotees' that was locked up in jail for this attempted coup, and is currently out on bail on charges of rioting, affray, unlawful assembly and a breach of peace. Hardly an unbiased account. Bimal however omits to mention this, trying to pass it off as some official report.
2) Bimal Krishna who himself was 5000 miles away at the time of the attack, and has no idea what really happened, and has simply reproduced this biased account, due to the fact that he has a conflict of interest. The press reports from India that appeared in the Asian Voice on May 5th, correctly state:
Bimal surprisingly omits to mention that he himself is a disciple of Bhakti Caru Swami, one of the bogus 'Gurus' mentioned above responsible for orchestrating the attack, and hence he is not an unbiased source either!
I, however, am the Temple President who was attacked by these thugs and who was successfully rescued by the Police, and I can confirm that the press reports which appeared in the Asian Voice were largely accurate.
Indeed, evidence of this can be found
in Bimal's own article where he severely contradicts himself. He
opens his account by stating that the press report which stated that
'ISKCON monks and their supporters trying to force the order's
Kolkata chapter president to quit his post' is "inaccurate". Yet
Bimal's own report admits that those who were later arrested by the Police had come to the temple that day "for taking charge" of the temple, since I had been 'suspended'!
The readers are therefore invited to choose between the following:
In normal situations the neutral
accounts of a criminal event from the press and police are always
given precedence over the account of the criminals who were jailed
for the same act! We urge Asian Voice readers to do the same here.
For further evidence in this matter, readers are invited to log onto
President, ISKCON Calcutta
Chairman, ISKCON Revival Movement (IRM)
The significance of having our response published in the Asian Voice should not be underestimated. The newspaper is in its 30th year of publication. According to the publisher's own statement, Asian Voice is the:
"First and foremost Asian weekly in Europe...In terms of circulation, Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice are the largest such publications outside India. In the UK, we are the only member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) in our sector."
Indeed, the publishers go on to say that Gujarat Samachar/Asian Voice is:
"widely read amongst 650,000 people of Gujarati origin all over Britain.
The Gujarati community forms one of the most hardworking, ambitious and
successful groups in Britain today. Gujaratis are well-known for their
business acumen, while there are also numerous doctors, lawyers,
accountants, technicians and other professionals among their number."
We are grateful to Asian Voice/Gujarat Samachar for allowing the IRM to expose the truth about ISKCON's guru cult to the Hindu community throughout the UK and Europe. The paper has truly lived up to its declared mission statement:
"Without fear or favour we shall strive to serve our readers, our community and the community at large. We are the voice of the voiceless."