By Nimai Pandit dasa
On August 6th, while the majority of devotees were away from the temple, collecting and preparing for the Sri Krishna Janmastami festival, (only 4 days hence), a number of NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) officers, in full display of arrogance, and disregarding the signed agreement paper and court order, arrived at the temple with 50 armed police, and bulldozers, and proceeded to demolish temple property, razing to the ground the large double entrance gates, the three-roomed stall housing a Prasadam shop, a bookshop and a reception room, as well as the room that Srila Prabhupada stayed in for 17 days in 1977. The few devotees protesting this violence were offering obeisances to the officersâ feet, pleading with them that they wait for the temple authorities and senior devotees to arrive before doing any more damage, but they were paid no heed and the workers were signaled to continue and finish the demolition work. The devotees were earnestly trying to persuade them to postpone the demolition work at least until after the two-day Sri Janmastami celebrations. Instead of softening their stance the NHAI officers allowed the bulldozers to proceed to destroy the newly erected stage and tent-house, especially built for the various cultural programs during Krishna Janmastami. Most importantly Srila Prabhupadaâs historic and sacred memorial hut, which was clearly in the area beyond the agreed 3.6 metres of land, was reduced to rubble. Carelessly and arrogantly the NHAI authorities even threatened the devotees that if they did not transfer the sacred samadhi of Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja within three days, they would break the 22 marble stairs leading up to the main temple room, and even threatened to dump the rubble of the staircase over the samadhi site, and have the devotees arrested.
We Cannot Just Stand By
Disciples, followers and admirers of Srila Gour Govinda Swami and His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada around the world have received this shocking news and are experiencing so deep pain in their hearts as this cherished monument and holy tirtha remains under threat of complete annihilation. Although there have been cries for help from the devotees for the leaders of ISKCON to step forward and help in any way they can, to this day they have not responded adequately, if at all, even though to date almost 5500 people have signed the online petition to halt the demolition. We cannot just stand by and allow such spiritual treasures, mercifully left by our Gurus for us to worship and that act as channels of their divine mercy, to be violated and trampled to dust in such a violent manner.