There has been continued political and social unrest in the Kwazulu-Natal province of South Africa, known for its largest city of Durban, where ISKCON has three large temples with installed Deities.
As of July 13th evening, the senior devotees, ladies, and other Temple residents have taken shelter at the house of various devotees in safer areas. The Deities also have been moved to a safer place, on the advice of local law enforcement groups said ISKCON Communications Director of South Africa, Nanda Kishore Das.
According to the BBC, the situation is dire in many parts of Durban; buildings are being burned down, looting, and destruction of stores causing food shortages. At least 45 people have been killed so far over the last three days. The protests, turn looting and violence, started after a former president of the country, Zuma was put in jail. At present, the major cities of Durban and Johannesburg have seen the worst of the looting and violence.
Since Monday, July 12th, Bhakti Chaitanya Swami has been posting updates on his personal Facebook about the political unrest from his base at Radha Radhanath Temple in Durban as a precarious situation with rioting and occasional gun-fire being heard from nearby the Temple grounds. Bhakti Chaitanya Swami posted about the previous evening’s events surrounding the Temple grounds being severe with gunfire lasting for about three hours during the night, and thousands of people on their way to loot at a local shopping mall that is near the Temple.
Although the Temple is not considered a target, the risk of it becoming collateral damage remains, owing to its closer proximity to a mall; which have been places that are being extensively looted and places of violence over the past three days.
Although a higher chance of risk is for the Radha Radhanath temple, other temples in South Africa remain unaffected so far but are on high alert, says Nanda Kishore Das. “Please request the prayers of all devotees”, he said.
Bhakti Chaitanya Swami will give a live update from his Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/bhakticaitanyaswami on the situation daily.
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