bannings: A human rights hypocrisy
In BTP 8 we reported on the fact that IRM sympathisers are banned from
worshipping at Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON’s UK headquarters, by Temple
President Gauri Das simply for “agreeing
with the views and publications” of the IRM. Thus one is being
punished for simply the THOUGHTS in one’s mind (what one “agrees with”),
and not even for what one says or does.
This is as gross a violation of human rights as can be possible.
However, at the same time that ISKCON UK is perpetrating draconian human
rights abuses against followers of Srila Prabhupada, it is not at all
averse to invoking human rights for its own purposes when it suits them,
a position rife with hypocrisy, as we now demonstrate.
|Human rights hypocrisy:
A decade ago, Bhaktivedanta Manor made great
appeal to the violation of the human rights of the Hindu community as
the local council sought to close the temple down for public worship –
an appeal which went all the way to the European Commission of Human
Rights. The Temple President at the time, Akhandadhi Das, told a local
|“There are human issues. We are being
denied religious rights.”
(Akhandadhi Das, West Herts and Watford Observer, Friday, 20
March 1992, p. 7.)
Ironically, after building a case on the
violation of the human rights of devotees being denied access to the
temple for worship, Akhandadhi himself set in motion a policy of banning
from temple worship anyone who believes Srila Prabhupada is the current
guru of ISKCON; a policy continued by a successor (voted-in guru
Vipramukhya Swami who subsequently left ISKCON with a young lady), and
ruthlessly enforced to this day by current President Gauri Das.
|Human rights hypocrisy:
In 2006, ISKCON has joined with a number of
Hindu organisations under the banner of the “Defend Russian Hindus
Campaign” to launch a high-profile international petition highlighting
the fact that the Moscow authorities have – at the time of going to
press - supposedly reneged on their promise to allocate land for an
ISKCON temple to replace the old, demolished temple, thus depriving
thousands of ‘Russian Hindus’ the right to worship.
Regarding this they state:
|“However, the issue has general
significance because it is about freedom and the right to
(Bhaktivedanta Manor News Bulletin, January 2006).
Meanwhile, hidden behind the glare of publicity
on this issue is the hypocritical human rights oppression enacted by the
ISKCON UK leadership against the “freedom and the right to worship” of
‘British Hindus’ who simply THINK that Srila Prabhupada is
ISKCON’s Guru. Clearly, before trying to lecture the Russian Government
regarding the rights of worship of Russian Hindus, ISKCON and the
various Hindu organisations backing its cause need to defend the rights
of Hindus closer to home.
Last year, ISKCON’s Office of Child Protection
issued the following statement about one of its convicted paedophiles:
Clarification by ISKCON
Central Office of Child Protection
Posted August 23, 2005
The Appeals Judges’ decision in the case of Vakresvara Pandit
das upheld the previous CPO panel finding that he was
responsible for sexual abuse of a minor. […]
Life time restriction will remain as follows:
“If the victim of Vakresvara Pandit dasa attends a function
at an ISKCON temple Vakresvara Pandit is present, then
Vakresvara Pandit dasa must leave the premises, unless the
victim gives uncoerced permission for Vakresvara Pandit to
What is completely unbelievable is the fact
that, according to the above statement, someone whom ISKCON considers a
convicted paedophile can actually enter any ISKCON temple that he wishes
and only face minor restrictions. One would have thought that such
criminal activity might be a strong case for banning him entirely from
entering an ISKCON temple, especially given the fact that ISKCON is
currently paying compensation to child abuse victims in a recently
concluded multimillion dollar class action lawsuit.
But apparently not. Much more criminal, according to ISKCON leader Gauri
Das, is believing in Srila Prabhupada as your Guru:
|“Those who are formally part of or
agree with the views and publications (of the IRM) are suspended
by the Manor Temple Council from visiting Bhaktivedanta Manor”
(Letter from Gauri Das, 17 February 2005)
The following message was publicly broadcast by
the leadership of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s ISKCON Pandava Sena Youth Group:
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005
Subject: Dhruva Maharaj Dasa
Dear Devotees It is with regret that we have to inform you about
the unfortunate behaviour of Dhruva Maharaj Dasa (Dhaval Patel).
He spent thousands of pounds of other devotee’s money on a
variety of things. […]
Our investigation has found that Dhruva borrowed excessively
through fraudulent means e.g. Citing Medical Expenses for His
Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaj (whilst in reality the money was
used to pay credit card bills). […]
However, a series of obstructive actions by Dhruva Maharaj Dasa
has forced us to go public with the situation, as well as to
seriously consider legal proceedings.
We humbly request that Dhruva not be allowed in any way, shape
or form to give formal classes at any ISKCON function/ venue,
and also that he not be allowed to perform Deity worship at any
ISKCON function / venue.
Again, we see that despite engaging in criminal
activity, the above devotee is not actually banned from entering
Bhaktivedanta Manor, taking darshan of the Deities and Srila
Prabhupada there, or participating in all of its functions and
So we see from the above that according to ISKCON you can still be
allowed to participate in temple worship even if you are:
1) A paedophile;
2) A fraudster.
However, if you dare believe that the person who
founded ISKCON, whose books are the basis of ISKCON, and who is
worshipped every morning in every ISKCON temple, is the bona fide Guru
of ISKCON then be prepared to have your right of worship removed.
Further, a movement which vigorously champions the rights of Hindus in
Russia to worship is simultaneously denying British Hindus these very
This, of course, is sheer hypocrisy, and it is no wonder therefore that
we are living in the Kali-yuga, or the Age of Hypocrisy.