On March 17, around 8 PM, 150 men tried to forcibly occupy a parcel of land owned by ISKCON Bangladesh. The property is a ten-minute walk from ISKCON’s main temple in Dhaka, the Swamibag Temple, and is adjacent to a smaller ISKCON temple on nearby Lalmohan Saha Street.
“We were using the land for storage and plan to develop it in the future,” said Jagatguru Gauranga dasa, ISKCON Co-Regional Secretary for Bangladesh. “The men showed up with three large trucks and began looting the things we keep there, to take the property for their own purposes.”
Local police were called and showed up about 30 minutes later. While the police were outnumbered by the hooligans, they calmed the situation but were not able to prevent the looting and damage that had already occurred. Two ISKCON devotees suffered minor injuries while trying to resist the attack.
The adjoining ISKCON temple itself was not harmed, although there was damage to the wall around the adjoining property. A small clay deity of goddess Sarasvati, previously worshipped in a one-day ceremony (and traditionally placed in a river afterward) was taken. No Deities currently being worshipped were harmed. Construction and other materials were looted. ISKCON remains in control of the property.
It is suspected that the man behind this attack owns an adjacent property to the parcel that was looted, and wants the property for himself.
“We are meeting with the District Commissioner of Police in the next day or two to see what can be done to assure full protection of our property and the safety of our community,” said Jagat Guru.
Editor’s Note: In 2021, there were egregious attacks against ISKCON temples in Bangladesh. Two ISKCON devotees were murdered, and the property was destroyed and defaced. ISKCON stands in support of all minorities in Bangladesh whose lives, property, and religious freedoms have been threatened. See: https://iskconnews.org/iskcon-official-report-on-bangladesh-attacks/
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