By Radha Mohan Dasa
28 March 2008
Hindu leaders and monks called today on the RSPCA headquarters at Horsham, West Sussex to serve a legal notice proposing to sue the RSPCA over trespass to land and goods, in relation to the highly emotive killing of the temple cow, Gangotri at Bhaktivedanta Manor temple, Watford. The solemn procession of monks marched slowly and silently into the RSPCA headquarters and delivered the letter by hand.
The temple has alleged that on 13th December, RSPCA officials turned up with a ‘pretend warrant’, distracted the main farmers elsewhere with normal conversation, while an RSPCA vet proceeded to euthanize an unattended Gangotri without informing the temple. This was done despite assurances given by the RSPCA on 12th December that they would not take any action on Gangotri without giving the temple sufficient time for a wider consultation and legal advice.
“We believe that the RSPCA act was illegal, unnecessary and high-handed,” said Gauri Dasa, President of Bhaktivedanta Manor, who led the team of monks serving the legal notice today. “The Hindu community in Britain is appalled by the lack of integrity in their behaviour. They want the facts to come out. No compensation will be adequate to address the loss of Gangotri, whose life was taken through deception and damaged the feelings of our faith community.”
At a meeting last fortnight with the Justice for Gangotri Taskforce, Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs assured the community that a ‘protocol’ would be defined by DEFRA on how to deal with animals at Hindu temples.
“Qualified vets who were caring for Gangotri never thought she should be killed,” continued Gauri Dasa. “But what is shocking is that the RSPCA, without any form of apology or remorse, now suddenly started writing to Hindu community leaders inviting them for a round table meeting.”
Last week, Peter Ainsworth MP, Shadow Secretary for the Environment visited the temple and issued a statement saying that the RSPCA acted wrongly and the killing should not have happened as it did. Peter Ainsworth MP said ?I agree that it will be important to establish the truth of what happened, partly so that justice can be done to Gangotri? s memory, partly to ensure that the integrity of the Manor is upheld, and partly so that lessons can be learnt. I will be asking Hilary Benn to report on progress since the meeting he held with representatives of the Hindu community. It is clear to me that what happened on 13th December was not acceptable or right.?
The Justice for Gangotri Taskforce is supported by major Hindu organizations around the country including the National Council of Hindu Temples UK, Hindu Forum of Britain, Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK, International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, Neasden.
For more information, contact: Radha Mohan das on 07818 815 978 (m)
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Editor’ s Notes
On 13th December 2007- the RSPCA illegally entered the grounds of Bhaktivedanta Manor and gave a lethal injection to Gangotri, one of the temple? s sacred cows Immediately afterwards Hindu leaders from across the UK were united in condemnation of the RSPCA? s callous and disrespectful behavior, and said it was an attack on Hinduism itself.
There were protests outside the RSPCA? s headquarters on 26th December, and another demonstration took outside Parliament Square and the DEFRA offices on 13th February
Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North, who had was present at the London demonstration reassured Hindus that the Secretary of State of DEFRA, Hiliary Benn MP was looking into the actions of the RSPCA and would look seriously at procedures and protocols of animal welfare.
Organisations that took part in the protest included the Hindu Forum of Britain, National Council of Hindu Temples, VHP UK, Hindu Council of Brent, ISKCON, Swaminarayan Hindu Mission and several other national and regional Hindu institutions.
The Hindu protest against the actions of the RSPCA was held on the same day that a British delegation paid their final respects to Gangotri by scattering her ashes in the holy river Ganges in the ancient pilgrim city of Prayag in India, where the Kumbha Mela is held and in Varanasi. The remainder of the ashes were scattered in Haridwar , known as the gateway to the Himalayas, and Vrindavan, the home of Lord Krishna.
For more information, please visit: www.justiceforgangotri.org