New Delhi: The demolition of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) temple in Kazakhastan has snowballed into a raging controversy. ISKON devotees, protesting the incident, went on a rampage outside the Kazakhastan Embassy in Delhi. While the Kazhakh authorities claim the temple was built illegally, devotees call it a religious persecution. Life could not have taken a more ugly turn for Rati Manjari, an ISKCON devotee, from Kazakhastan who was on a pilgrimage to India, when Khazakh authorities bulldozed her house in the ISKON complex.
?I have no roof over my head in this winter time. It'snot only me, there were mothers with children. Where will they go?? Kazak Hindu devotee Rati Manjari said. She is not the only one; 10 dozen ISKON devotees were pushed out of their homes in the winter chill as authorities knocked down their houses into rubble. The incident has assumed communal overtones, with the Hindu community alleging it is a case of religious discrimination.
?Nothing will happen to the Christians, nothing will happen to the Muslims. But it'sthe Hindus and particularly the followers of Lord Krishna who are targeted. It is selective discrimination,? ISKCON Central Asia Head, B B Govind Swami said. The Khazah authorities claim that the temple was constructed on illegally purchased land. ?It'sa civil case and the demolition has nothing to do with religion,? said Kazak Ambassador Kairat Umarov. Lord Krishna devotees plan to take this protest globally and more so because British Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken up this issue with the President of Kazakhastan.
The BJP national president Shri Rajnath Singh has expressed his deep concern over the media reports of a temple demolished in Kazakhastan. He said that the reports of atrocities on Hindus in Kazakhastan are a cause of worry for the entire nation and reprehensible. However, what is truly shocking is the gross indifference of the Govt. of India on such an important issue, which affects the sentiments of Bharat. This is becoming in increasingly clear that any hurt to the Hindu sentiments never affects the UPA Government, which remains as usual poker faced. The agony of the situation is that the British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed his anguish to the Kazakh Govt., but not the Indian Prime Minister or the ruling party.
Shri Singh urged the central government to strictly convey the concern to the Govt. of Kazakhastan through its ambassador and ask for a proper report of the situation. he said that the Govt. of India should try to restore the sanctity of the temple there.
Further expressing his concern over the media reports of atrocities and humiliation of Sikhs in Afghanistan. There is a miniscule minority of Sikhs now left in Afghanistan, as most of them had migrated to India in the face of Taliban rise earlier. It is reported that there were several incidents of atrocities on Sikh in Kandhar in recent days. It is strange that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or his government was unable to even register a protest on this issue to Shri Hamid Karjai, President of Afghanistan, who had just visited India. Previously, whether it was the issue of destruction temple in Kazakhastan or it was the issue of banning use of turban in France, it seems that the present Union Government is highly insensitive to any issue hurting the sentiments of Hindu or Sikh community. On the other hand, the government leaves not even slightest chance to react on any issue even remotely related to sentiments of other minority communities. This is glaring evidence of duplicity of the government stand on the issues related to the sentiments of Sikhs on one hand and other minorities on the other hand. He urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he should react to this issue, which had hurt the sentiments of entire Sikh community. Shri Singh demanded that the government of India should exert strong diplomatic pressure on Afghan Government to ensure the safety and dignity of Sikh community living in Afghanistan. (FOC)