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June 30, 2001 VNN6814 Related VNN StoriesComment on this story
Devotees Languishing In Puri Prison
BY BHAKTA DASA
PURI, INDIA, Jun 30 (VNN) Dear Exalted Vaisnavas, Please accept my humble obeisances in your foot dust. All glories to all the pure devotees of the Supreme Lord Sri Sri Radha Govinda dev.
It has been sometime since we have updated you on the false rape case in Sri Jagannatha Puri dham.
To refresh the memory of those who have forgotten or are not familiar, on June 29, 2000 one Slovakian woman of the name Maria Schmidova field an "FIR" with the Sea Beach Police Station in Puri alleging her daughter Tulsi had been brutally assaulted and raped by her lover Asoke Sahoo, and three western born Iskcon devotees, Mayapura Chandra dasa, Mandali Bhadra dasa, and Bhakta dasa.
The accused devotees are now fearful there will be a kangaroo court...
In spite of there being NO MEDICAL EVIDENCE to support the wild allegation, the Crime Branch of Orissa arrested the four men. Asoke Sahoo was arrested on July 15, 2000, Bhakta dasa and Mandali Bhadra were arrested on August 21, 2000, and finally Mayapur Chandra on August 29,2000.
Much later, in late April and early May 2001, three local men of Puri were arrested too. They were released on bail within two weeks, but the three foreigners and Asoke Sahoo have been denied bail repeatedly.
On March 30, 2001, as a result of a lawsuit filed against her in Austria, Maria Schmidova signed in the high court of Austria before her own attorney, and before the presiding judge a legally binding settlement in which she admitted the entire case had been fabricated. She named the men in Puri who instigated her, and guided her in fabricating the case.
This legal settlement was duly endorsed by the president of the Supreme Court in Austria, and then by the Minister of External Affairs in Austria, and finally by the Indian High Commission in Vienna.
This document was then translated to English by a legal translator and forwarded to Orissa for submission to the court in expectation the court would respect the Austrian courts and dismiss the case.
This request for dismissal was filed on April 13, 2001 before Justice L.K. Mohapatra in the High Court of Orissa in Cuttack. The court heard the matter shortly thereafter and reserved the ruling.
After a wait of two months, Justice LK Mohapatra gave his decision on Wednesday, June 19, 2001. Sadly the judge totally ignored the Austrian settlement, and has denied bail to the accused, who now will face a trial for a crime that never happened; where there is no complainant and no victim.
Legal experts in Orissa are saying that in history of India they have never seen such a total disregard of law, of fact, and of human rights.
The accused devotees are now fearful there will be a kangaroo court which will convict them without the complainant Maria or her daughter ever appearing.
Maria in the settlement in Austria has vowed to never appear in India again, and if she violates this she will be instantly subjected to massive fines and imprisonment in Austria.
All the devotees languishing in prison the past year are humbly submitting their prayer that all the Vaisnavas will kindly bless them, and forgive them for any offenses they have committed knowingly or unknowingly at the foot of any devotee.
Today is Lord Jagannath's Rathayatra. He is Patit Pavana, and His bhaktas are more merciful than Him! Therefore, please, all of you pray that truth will prevail over lies, and the innocent will be freed very soon by the mercy of the Vaisnavas.
Thank you very much.
Your humble servant,
Bhakta dasa (ACBSP)
PS. His Grace Sriman Kulashekar dasa has created a web site at http://www.freewilliambenedict.com where you can browse and understand more of the facts of this case.
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