By Rohit Bansal
Instead of focusing on the woes of Russian telecom major Sistema and the Kundankulam nuclear plant, which Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to red-flag during his one-day visit to New Delhi on Monday, the Indian Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) authorities in Moscow expect Indian decision-makers to take note of their plight. The devotees face eviction even from the makeshift temple premises (an iron shack constructed after the main temple was razed in 2004) from January 15, 2013.
A chilling video of devotees of Lord Krishna facing sub-minus-18-degree Moscow temperatures, a few still pictures and a petition have been shared with the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office (PMO), addressed to principal secretary Pulok Chatterji and other senior interlocutors, including foreign minister Salman Khurshid (please see attachments).
Iskconâ€™s aim is to counter syrupy press coverage being orchestrated for Putinâ€™s New Delhi visit and instead turn focus on the sordid sequence of events in Moscow, where the cityâ€™s only Hindu temple was bulldozed to the ground in 2004.
After much outcry in India, including actress Hema Malini and some top industrialists, prime minister Manmohan Singh intervened with Putin and Iskcon was allowed to construct a corrugated iron shack with no sewers or heating, with the promise that they would be able replace it with a more dignified permanent temple.
However, the Moscow city administration is now citing â€śimproprietiesâ€ť in their own allotment order, as the structure allegedly â€śviolates the urban planning code,â€ť and â€śhas no legal ground.â€ť This follows a near fait accompli Iskcon faced in December 2011 regarding a ban on Bhagwad Gita in a court case slammed on Iskcon in the city of Tomsk.