Protests in London – Threat of demolition of Iskcon Temple in Kazakhstan
By Radha Mohan Dasa (BCS)
On Wednesday 4th July outside the Victoria and Albert Museum opposite the Kazakhstan Embassy, there was singing and dancing but behind this was anger at the continued persecution of devotees in Kazakhstan. A 10,000 signature petition was handed to the Kazakh political attaché.
Krishna devotees and Hindu organizations across the world are condemning the treatment of minority religions and the targeted demolition of twelve houses belong to devotees in Kazakhstan on 15th June.
There are fears that the only Hindu temple in Kazakhstan, belonging to the Krishna movement, is the next target for destruction.
Human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis is outraged at the continuing destruction. “The authorities are showing that they will do what they want, despite the international outrage at the earlier demolitions of family homes. What the authorities are doing is terrible and it is wrong from the point of view of justice – and of compromise.”
Over the past three years, the Kazakh authorities have been determined to destroy the Sri Vrindavan Dham Hare Krishna commune, located in the village of Seleksia in Zhetisu rural area of Karasai district. The commune originally had 66 Hare Krishna-owned homes, plus the 47.7-hectare (118 acre) farm. Amid an international outcry, the authorities bulldozed 13 of the 66 homes in November 2006 and have repeatedly threatened to resume demolitions,
“We believe that this is a direct violation of the religious minorities in Kazakhstan and call upon the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to speak to the Kazakh Government,” commented Ishwer Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “The continued harassment of devotees in Kazakhstan has caused great concern to our community here in Britain.”
Zhovtis, the head of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, believes that Mr Kutpanov, the Karasai district Hakim
(Govenor), is backed by people close to President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He believes that economic reasons are behind the attempts to seize the Hindu-owned land.
“The Kazakh Government does not wish to listen to anyone,” said Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe. “It is a gross violation of human rights, and we will oppose any attempts by it to chair the OCSE.”
Last year, hundreds organized protests in London during the visit of the President of Kazakhstan to the UK.
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There is a slide show of photos from the event on here: http://radheshyam.wordpress.com
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