Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Kazakh Government Offers Devotees a Garbage Dump
By Maxim Varfolomeyev   |  Jun 22, 2008

As an effort to resolve the conflict caused by the destruction of 26 homes and confiscation of 116 acres of property of the Society for Krishna Consciousness the Kazakhstan government has continually offered unsuitable land plots.

The latest offer has been 10 acres of a landfill/garbage dump in Illi District, Almaty Province.

The directors of the Krishna Society have repeatedly expressed their willingness to cooperate with government authorities to resolve this conflict. But, they have expressed that they cannot accept an active garbage dump, which does not have drinking water or water for irrigation, as a satisfying resolve.

The chairman of the Krishna Society was informed on June 17, 2008 that the government has officially allotted this parcel of land despite the Krishna Society not having agreed to accept the plot.

In a telephone conversation with the Deputy Hakim of Almaty Province, Serik Mukanov, the officials of the Krishna Society were warned that failure to comply to this order could result in the loss of the Temple building and barn which the society still occupies in Karasai District. The deputy Hakim stated that he would contact the Karasai District government with the instruction that they resolve the issue.

The Karasai District government oversaw anti-Krishna media broadcasts, opened court cases against the society, oversaw the demolition of homes of the community members, and has had the 116 acres of community land returned to the land reserve of the district.

The pretence for the confiscation of the 116 acres is that forgery was committed in the original sales and purchase agreement. To date there has no ruling that forgery took place.

The farm of the Krishna Society was legally purchased and privatized by the society. It is presently valued as a multi-million dollar property. The farm was the main center of the Krishna religion in Kazakhstan and central Asia.

Many families were displaced by the demolitions that took place during the winter of 2006 and summer of 2007. Despite requests by OSCE, the American government, and the International Helsinki Foundation, the Kazakh government offered no humanitarian aid or compensation to the families following the destruction.

The efforts shown by the Kazakh government for reaching a resolve are in name only. They are efforts to impress the OSCE Parliamentary assembly in Astana that something positive has been done and to force the Krishna Society to leave their farm as soon as possible so government resale of the property may begin.

The Krishna Society has been featured in recent television reports against non-traditional religions in Kazakhstan. The latest wave of anti-sect media propaganda has intensified as the Kazakh government is reviewing controversial amendments to the religious laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Human rights observers have stated that the amendments would be in gross violation of international standards of freedom of religion and belief.

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