Sunday, September 28, 2008

Krishna Community Faces Forced Eviction

10 Acres in Exchange for 116

On September 11, 2008 the assistant Hakim of Almaty province, S. Mukanov, informed the directors of the Society for Krishna Consciousness that the court has accepted the proposal of the Karasai district Hakim to declare the Society's buildings legally invalid.
Mukanov stated that the Kazakh authorities expect this proposal to be sustained by

court, and that the Temple and other buildings of the society would be declared illegal, demolished, the Society's members forcibly evicted.

In August the Krishna Society received the resolution of the Hakim of the Karasai
District stating that the Kazakh government’s 2001 act of acceptance of the Society’s buildings into official usage had been annulled. The Hakim’s resolution was not on government letterhead, had no official document number, had no signatures, and had no official stamps.

The directors of the Krishna Society had first seen this document in a meeting with the assistant Karasai Hakim in July 2008. During the meeting the Krishna Society directors were not accompanied by their advocate. Thus, despite being forced by the Hakim, they refused to sign the document.

The assistant Hakim angrily responded to their denial by saying, "Be prepared for new
court cases."

On July 30, 2008 the Council for Connections with Religious Organizations of the Kazakh Government held a meeting in Astana to discuss the situation with the Society for Krishna Consciousness.

At that time, an attempt was again made by the chairman of the National Religious Committee, A. Dozhan to force to the Krishna Society to sign an agreement to relocate to unusable land in the Iliy district of Almaty Province.

The directors of the Society have rejected this land, which is an active garbage dump.
The land is unsuitable for constructing a place of worship, has no essential communications, devoid of drinking or irrigation water.

As an alternative to the Kazakh government proposal, the Krishna Society has appealed that the government allow them to use the land where their temple and other buildings are situated. This land was legally purchased, privatized, and developed at huge expense by the Society’s members and cultivated for 9 years.

According to Article 17 of the Law on Freedom of Faith and Religious Organizations in Republic of Kazakhstan, religious organizations have a pre-emptive right to receive the religious buildings with the adjacent territory.

The assistant Hakim of Almaty province, S. Mukanov, responded that there would be no other concessions. He stated, "We have already filed a claim for demolishing the remaining buildings.”

The Karasai government has initiated trials against the Society for Krishna Consciousness since 2005. This has resulted in the demolition of 26 homes of Hindu practitioners in 2006 and 2007.

The court cases have also resulted in the confiscation of 116 acres of the Society's  land. This prime property was transferred to the Karasai district land reserve without compensation to the Society.

The proposed compulsory Temple demolition and forced eviction will be the final stage of the Kazakh government’s  campaign to destroy the largest established center of the Krishna Society in Central Asia.

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