© 2001 VNN
April 30, 2001 VNN6719 Related VNN StoriesComment on this story
Devotees Arrested In Temple Tussle
FROM THE TIME OF INDIA AND OTHER NEWS MEDIA
INDIA, Apr 30 (VNN) BY MADHUMITA BHATTACHARYYA
Calcutta, April, 28: The factional feud at Iskcon took a decisive turn on Saturday morning with the arrest of 72 devotees. A dozen policemen from the Shakespeare Sarani thana rounded up the devotees, who had been camping both outside and inside the Albert Road temple since Friday, on charges of "unlawful assembly, rioting and assault". On Friday afternoon, the dispute had come to a head, with over 80 devotees trying to unseat city Iskcon president Adridharana Das, who has been "suspended" by the Iskcon Bureau, the Mumbai-based administrative body of the Society. After clashes broke out, the police had arrested seven devotees who were later released on bail.
Police had called a meeting between the factions at 10 am. Dayaram Das, one of the devotees appointed by the Iskcon Bureau to take control of the temple, arrived at the police station at the scheduled time, but Adridharana failed to keep the appointment.
"Around 10.30 am, when we saw the crowd was still there, we decided to enter the temple, fearing bloodshed might occur at any moment," said Prosanta Banerjee, additional commissioner (II), south division. Adridharana said: "The police scaled the walls, and went to every corner of the building, pulling out everyone." Banerjee was one of the four officers injured in the ensuing tussle.
But Dayaram and the handful of those who have not been arrested are crying foul over the police action. "When devotees were engaged in kirtan within the temple, a posse of policemen suddenly entered and dragged them out and arrested them," according to Dayaram. "It is our temple... We cannot be refused admission. Adri has been suspended, but he refuses to accept the decision taken by our Bureau," he said. His fellow disciples are being held at the Lalbazar lockup and are due to be produced in court on Sunday. "They have arrested everyone, except for the one man who no longer has a right to be inside the premises: Adridharana Das," Dayaram said. The Bureau had suspended Adridharana last month on charges of "embezzlement of money".
Officer-in-charge, Shakespeare Sarani police station S. R. Ray, however, stressed that they intervened simply to maintain law and order. "We are not concerned with their internal problems, which is a civil issue," explained Ray.
>From Indian Newspapers
Saturday April 28, 10:45 PM
ISKCON devotees and monks held after clash Kolkata, Apr 28 (PTI) Police arrested 72 devotees and monks of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) who went on the rampage and clashed inside its Kolkata temple office Saturday.
An Assistant Commissioner of police and four constables were injured while trying to separate the warring sadhus. Some monks and devotees were also injured and furniture was damaged in the clash over "an old dispute", police said.
Later, 72 devotees and monks were arrested from the temple office on the charge of unlawful assembly, they said.
About 150 devotees and monks of ISKCON's Mayapur temple in Nadia district of West Bengal arrived here Friday night and tried to "evict the outsiders" in the ISKCON's Albert Road temple office. This led to heated exchanges and scuffles, police said.
Though the nature of the "dispute" was not known, police said tension had been brewing in the premises since Friday night. The arrested were lodged in the city police lock-up.
A strong police contingent has been posted in front of the ISKCON temple office as a precautionary measure. PTI PB PC PKA NNG BJB SDG PTI NNNN
Saturday April 28, 3:22 AM
Faction feud fuels Iskcon coup bid By Madhumita Bhattacharyya
Calcutta, April, 27: Faction feud fuelled a coup attempt in the normally-serene Iskcon Temple on Friday. Around 50 devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness entered the Albert Road temple late in the afternoon, in an attempt to oust Adridharana Das, president of Iskcon, Calcutta. Five from among the challengers and two defenders were arrested when the confrontation took a violent turn.
A few devotees from outside had entered the temple earlier, while a group of around 50 came in around 4 pm, armed with sticks, said D. Sengupta, additional officer-in-charge, Shakespeare Sarani police station. When we arrived on the spot, the two factions were fighting it out in front of the temple.
Trouble at the temple has been brewing for some time. Das had filed a case against over 70 gurus over a year ago, alleging that their authority was contrary to the legally binding directives of Srila Prabhupada, rightfully the sole initiating guru for Iskcon. The case is now being heard at Calcutta High Court.
Friday's revolt, led by followers of Jayapataka Swami and Bhakti Charu Swami, was in accordance with a recent Governing Body Commission directive divesting Das, accused of corruption, of his powers, The Commission, constituting 32 Iskcon gurus, had passed a resolution on March 2, by which Das is no longer president.
The Commission, alleges Das, who is also chairman of the Iskcon Revival Movement, comprises gurus who have unauthorisedly... set themselves up as new initiating gurus... siphoning off donations and followers... We have finally summoned the courage to question this illegal system, by which gurus are elected as spiritual leaders. I have filed a case against these gurus. It is under their instructions that these disciples have come today to attack the temple, said Das, amidst an atmosphere of tension. Das, president of over 20 years, appointed by Prabhupada himself, claimed he has received weekly death threats since filing the case.
The Calcutta-based rival devotees, who don't reside at the temple, were still there late on Friday evening, with the police keeping a close eye on the proceedings. We are devotees and we have every right to be here, said Pulak Mukherjee, a sanyasi. We are simply trying to implement the order of the Commission, which operates on the guidelines set by Prabhupada. We will not leave the temple till Das steps down.
According to Mukherjee, the Governing Body had decided to remove Das as he had been hiring out the Gurusaday Road premises as well as the Albert Road guest house, without depositing the proceeds, which runs into lakhs of rupees daily, in the Iskcon account. Das claims that as the matter is sub judice, the disciples cannot challenge his authority without a court order.
Sunday, 29th April
Fife ISKCON monks injured in group clash
The Times of India News Service
KOLKATA: In an unprecedented incident, five International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) monks on Friday afternoon were injured in a group clash over the right of the ISKCON temple on Albert Road.
According to ISKCON sources, the incident occurred at 4.45 pm when some monks were prevented from entering the temple.
A posse of police led by the officer-in-charge of Shakespeare police station Satyaranjan Roy rushed to the spot. Initially the police force had to remain as an idle spectator to the ongoing clash because the force could not enter the temple as the gates were closed.
Later, police arrested seven persons(including four monks) and put them in the lock up in the Shakespeare PS. Though the OC said that the incident had resulted because of an inner conflicts of the ISKCON, the organisation co-ordinator alleged that police did not arrest the monk who had masterminded the attack on them.
The OC said that the police had no other option left but to arrest the warring monks. Going to the Shakespeare PS it was seen that all the monks were languishing in the lock up.
As the monks felt thirsty, Advocate Debabrata Banerjee, the lawyer of the monks sought permission from the police officials to buy mineral water for them. As the permission was granted, the monks looked cheerful.
However, some monks told this newspaper that they felt scared because the persons with whom they fought for the entry into the temple were " rowdies" and were kept in the same lock up. Banerjee said that he was hopeful of bailing out the monks within Friday night
Related VNN StoriesComment on this storyContact VNN about this storySend this story to a friendThis story URL: http://www.vnn.org/world/WD0104/WD30-6719.html
NEWS DESK | WORLD | TOP
Surf the Web on