The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Articles tagged as Kazakhstan

  • ISKCON Kazakhstan Re-Registers Under New Religious Law

    Under the new law, devotees will be legally allowed to teach and preach Krishna consciousness in what the law calls a “Cult House,” meaning a temple, church or mosque or other official place of worship.

  • Kazakh Authorities Against Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hare Krishna

    Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Ahmadis, and Hare Krishna: the ax of religious repression and censorship of books and magazines continues to fall on the Kazakh faithful, with freedom of worship increasingly at risk, already reduced by stringent and illiberal laws.

  • 'Displacement' on the Silk Road
    Moscow's Museum of Modern Art is currently hosting "Displacement," an exhibit by New York-based Italian photographer Giada Ripa that offers a glimpse of the diversity across the former Soviet Union and a narrative on travel and identity. A photo of a Kazakh Krishna-devotee is also included.
  • Kazakh President Signs Restrictive, Dangerous Religion Laws

    Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev today signed into law two restrictive and oppressive religion laws that threaten fundamental freedoms and places religious minorities at significant risk in the country.

  • Kazakhstan Trying to Force out all Foreign Religious Believers?
    The new regulations appear to be part of a government policy of increasingly trying to isolate religious communities from fellow-believers abroad.
  • Religious Groups in Kyrgyzstan Want Religious Freedom Again
    Protestants, Catholics, Hare Krishna and Jehovah’s Witnesses call on the new government to establish complete religious freedom in the country.
  • Woman's Prayers Lead to Massive Fine in Kazakhstan
    Sunday service prompts government to demand the equivalent of nearly 1,000 US dollars.
  • Kazakhstan Allots Only 1 Hectare to ISKCON After Confiscating 48

    The latest news about the long-running battle between the Government of Kazakhstan and ISKCON’s “Krishna Society” has just come in: the Government now wants to allot devotees only one hectare of land as compensation for the forty-eight hectares they confiscated and the twenty-six homes they demolished back in late 2006.

  • Kazakh Hare Krishnas Ask OSCE To Help Defend Rights
    WARSAW - Kazakhstan's Hare Krishna community has called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to help it defend its rights.
  • ISKCON Kazakhstan Appeals to Keep Original Plot of Land

    On September 16, 2009 the Krishna Society appealed to the Almaty Oblast deputy Hakim, S. Mukanov to allot the Society the 15-hectare land plot that the society has occupied and developed for the past ten years. The Kazakhstan government destroyed 26 homes of Hindu practitioners of the community. Their land plots were confiscated. The owners of the destroyed houses were left homeless and never offered compensation or humanitarian aid. All of the land plots have been resold by the Kazakh government.

  • Kazakhs Drop Deportation Case Against B.B. Govinda Swami
    In a positive development for ISKCON in Kazakhstan, the government there has just closed its deportation case against Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami. The case began on January 27, when the ISKCON leader was held without explanation at Almaty airport for twelve hours and denied entry into Kazakhstan, despite carrying a valid passport and visa.
  • Prabhupada’s Books Bring Hope to Kazakhstan

    In 1992, the first BBT book in Kazakh—Easy Journey to Other Planets—was released after being translated by a volunteer. The North European BBT wanted to strike while the iron was hot. They needed someone more full-time. And who better than their enthusiastic new book distributor in Almaty?

  • Mormon Professor Visits Kazakhstan's Krishnas
    Staring at a row of demolished Hare Krishna homes in Kazakhstan, a world away from his office on the Brigham Young University campus, W. Cole Durham Jr. felt a surge of empathy. "One reason I care about this is because my people were driven out of their homes," Durham, a Mormon, told the demoralized homeowners.
  • Kazakhstan May Attempt to Impose Harsh Laws Again

    Many in Kazakhstan remain wary, certain that officials will try again to impose harsh new restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. "This is not the end of the attempt to adopt such a law," Yevgeny Zhovtis, head of the Almaty-based Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, told Forum 18. "I think they will try again." He believes fresh attempts could come in 2011 or 2012, after Kazakhstan has completed its chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). "But I'm not sure that they won't try again in 2009."

  • Despite Constitutions, Intolerance Persists In Central Asia
    On March 5, the Tajik parliament adopted in the final reading a new law on religious organizations. The new law is much less liberal than one adopted in 1992. Although deputies who spoke in favor of its passage said it treats all faiths equally, it in fact gives priority to the Hanafi school of Islam, to which 90 percent of the population of Tajikistan adheres.
  • Kazakhstan Demands Krishna Society to Vacate by March 1st

    On February 19th, 2009 the assistant Hakim of Almaty province, S. Mukanov, has demanded the farm property occupied by the Krishna Society be vacated by March 1, 2009. Mukanov emphasized that failure to vacate will result in new court cases against the Krishna Society.

  • Kazakhstan Backs Off On Religion Limits
    Kazakhstan, a key U.S. economic partner in Central Asia, has dramatically reversed legislation curtailing religious freedoms after the measure and the jailings and expulsions of two religious activists caused an international outcry. With little explanation, the country's constitutional council announced Wednesday that amendments to a religion law were "inconsistent" with Kazakhstan's constitution.
  • Kazakhstan: "Current Religion Law Unconstitutional"

    Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council announced on 11 February that the restrictive "Law on Amendments and Additions to Several Legislative Acts on Questions of Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations" is unconstitutional. Gulnara Baygeldy, the Council's press officer, told Forum 18 News Service from the capital Astana on 12 February that "now the President [Nursultan Nazarbaev] should decide to agree or disagree with us within 10 days.

  • Kazakhstan: OSCE Legal Opinion Criticises Proposed Law

    Human rights defenders and religious communities remain highly concerned that the Constitutional Council will approve and President Nursultan Nazarbaev will sign a controversial Law restricting religious freedom. Many provisions of the Law have been seriously criticised in a Legal Opinion from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

  • Advocate Condemns Kazakh Expulsion of Krishna Leader

    The Washington D.C. based Institute on Religion and Public Policy – one of the world’s best respected advocates for freedom of religion and belief – has condemned the Kazakhstan government’s January 27 deportation of ISKCON leader Bhakti Bringha Govinda Swami.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Repressive Law Sent for Review

    President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan has sent a repressive new law severely limiting freedom of religion or belief for review by the country's Constitutional Council, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Meanwhile, the government continues to repress the exercise of freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

  • Kazakh Government Withdraws Demolition Claim

    On December 1, 2008 the Karasai district court Judge Shakirov informed the directors of the Krishna Society that the Karasai government had withdrawn its claim to invalidate the purpose of usage and demolition of the Temple and barn at the Krishna community in Kazakhstan.

  • Kazakhstan Falling Short On OSCE Goals
    ALMATY (Reuters) -- Kazakhstan has made only small progress toward democracy to justify its chairmanship of Europe's main security and human rights body in 2010 and should speed up its efforts, a leading rights group has said. The West agreed to allow Kazakhstan to become the first ex-Soviet nation to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) after Kazakhstan promised to introduce a package of liberal reforms.
  • Kazakh Court Supports Hare Krishna's Peace Initiative

    Karasai district court supported a peace initiative of the Society for Krishna Consciousness and suggested that the parties make an amicable agreement. Hearings in the Karasai district court regarding the demolition of the only Hare Krishna temple in Kazakhstan continue. The plaintiff, Hakim of the Karasai district, demands that the buildings of the Society should be declared illegal and be demolished.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Restrictive Amendments go to President

    Kazakhstan's Parliament today (26 November) completed its consideration of a harsh Law which will seriously restrict freedom of religion or belief, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. The Parliament passed the law despite an agreement reached on 25 November for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to conduct a legislative review of the latest text of the controversial new amendments, which are now on their way to President Nursultan Nazarbaev for him to sign or reject.

  • Institute Condemns Kazakh's Restrictive Religion Law

    In a letter to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Expert Committee on Legislation and Implementation of the Institute spelled out the numerous violations of religious liberty and of political commitments to religious liberty that Kazakhstan has made with the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

  • Kazakhstan: "Now Only President Can Stop Temple Demolition"
    The remaining parts of Kazakhstan's only Hare Krishna community are threatened by a court case due to begin on Monday 13 October, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Karasai Akimat (administration) has brought a case to seize the buildings on the commune – which include a temple – and demolish them. Aysara Uglanova of Karasai District Court stated that "the case is about whether or not to demolish the buildings on the farm."
  • Krishna Community Faces Forced Eviction in Kazakhstan

    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.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Nationwide Religious Property Seizures Continue

    Almaty regional Public Prosecutor's Office seems keen to seize property from religious communities, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Six property cases against Christian and Muslim religious organisations in the region are known to have been initiated since mid-June. Amongst them is Agafe Protestant Church, the regional Economic Court ruling – despite numerous violations of due process – that the Church's building and land should be confiscated. A defence lawyer has received anonymous death threats, and an appeal will take place on 27 August. The regions' Hare Krishna commune also continues to struggle to retain its property.

  • Kazakh's Krishna Society Threatened With New Court Cases

    Immediately following the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Astana dedicated to "Transparency in the OSCE" the Kazakhstan government has begun a new attack on the embattled religious community of the Society for Krishna Consciousness. The Karasai District Hakim, A. Musakhanov, has cancelled the license to use the buildings possessed by the Krishna Society. The deputy Hakim, M. Bigediev, has told the directors of the Krishna Society to "be ready for new court cases."

  • Kazakh Officials Close Down Religious Meetings Across the Country

    Kazakh authorities continue to apply pressure against religious communities across the country, Forum 18 News Service has found. The latest example of the authorities' attempts to take places of worship away from religious minorities is a court case against Grace Protestant Church in Semey, in Eastern Kazakhstan Region.

  • Kazakh Authorities Intimidate Sunday Worshippers at Krishna Center

    On June 22, 2008, the Hakim of Zhetisu district, Almaty Province, Orynbay Zhanedil, intimidated the worshippers at the Sunday service of the Society for Krishna Consciousness.

    As the Krishna congregation arrived by bus, on the territory of the commune in Zhetisu district, the Hakim arrived accompanied by a car of local policemen.

  • Kazakh Government Offers Devotees a Garbage Dump

    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.

  • Kazakh Lawmakers Approve Restrictive Religious Bill
    For those who are new to the story of ISKCON's struggle with the Kazakhstan government, this article, from a credible secular news agency, is posted to shed some light on their underlying agenda in evicting the devotees enmasse from the ISKCON property there. ALMATY, Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan's parliament tentatively approved a bill Wednesday intended to increase government control over the activities of religious associations. The bill has drawn protests from rights groups, which say the changes will hinder religious minorities and could force some of them out of existence.
  • KAZAKHSTAN: Growing Threat to Religious Properties
    Maxim Varfolomeev of the Hare Krishna Community told Forum 18 on 18 April that the Regional Akimat has given them an ultimatum to vacate the place as soon as possible. "Otherwise the authorities pledge to pull down our temple and other buildings including living residences in our presence," Varfolomeev told Forum 18.
  • Kazakhstan Krishnas Given One Week to Get Out
    On March 25, 2008 the directors of the Krishna Society were summoned to a meeting organized by the Hakim of Almaty Province. The subject of the meeting was the imminent eviction of the Religious Organization Society for Krishna Consciousness from their property in Karasai District.
  • Kazakhstan Police Operation to Close Down Entire Denomination?
    Since the persecution of Hare Krishna devotees, members of ISKCON have been watching the Kazakhstan situation very carefully. There have been no recent direct moves against our community there, yet reports like this one demonstrate that the Kazakhstan government is still willing to attack the freedoms of its country's minority religions.
  • Kazakhstan's President Calls Foreign Missionaries a Threat

    ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev criticized foreign missionaries on Thursday as a threat to national stability and urged lawmakers to curb their activities. The mainly Muslim country has positioned itself as an area of stability in the potentially volatile Central Asian region. But some rights groups have criticized its treatment of small groups such as Hare Krishna.

  • Kazakhstan Picked to Chair OSCE
    Kazakhstan will assume the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010, the body's council has decided. The Central Asian country will be the first ex-Soviet republic to chair the human rights and defence watchdog.
  • Despite Krishna Persecution, Kazakhstan Wins OSCE Chairmanship

    Madrid – In a decision condemned by human rights activists, journalists, and Kazakhstan’s opposition party, the Republic of Kazakhstan was awarded the 2010 chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the group’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, on December 1.  Kazakhstan is the first former Soviet republic to chair the OSCE, which is a human rights and defense watchdog.

  • Amidst Cries of Foul, Kazakhs Present Chairmanship Bid
    Madrid – Foreign Ministers of the 56 member states belonging to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will discuss the issue of Kazakhstan’s bid to chair the OSCE in 2009, at the group’s meeting of the Council of Ministers, held here on November 29-30.
  • Kazakh Court Reverses Land Decision ... Again

    On November 8, 2007, the Supervisory Panel of the Almaty Provincial Court cancelled its decision on the transfer of 116-acre Krishna Society farm to Mr. E. Abdykalykov. The court ruled that the land be again returned to the Kazakhstan Government.

  • State and Former Owner Fight Over Kazakh Krishna's Farm

    A court in Kazakhstan decided on 23 October to hand a confiscated Hare Krishna farm near the commercial capital Almaty from the regional authority's ownership into the hands of the man who originally sold it in 1999. But since the court decision, Forum 18 News Service has learnt, a battle has emerged between the state and the new "owner".

  • Kazakhstani ISKCON Members Forced to Leave Homes

    On November 4, 2007, the practitioners of the Society for Krishna Consciousness were informed by Mr. Ermek Abdykalykov, previous owner of the property, that they have one week to vacate their farm.

  • British Government Asked to Intervene in Kazakh Crisis

    The British government is being urged to speak to the Kazakhstan President to stop the harassment and human rights abuse against minority Hindu communities in that country. British MP's this week said they would pressure the Foreign Secretary to act after attending an event organized by the Hindu Forum of Europe at the House of Commons.

  • ISKCON Leader Addresses OSCE Conference In Warsaw
    Warsaw -- ISKCON Leader, BB Govinda Swami, addressed an international conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Sepetember 26th. The Swami is the spiritual head of the Hare Krishna community in Kazakhstan currently under government abuse.
  • Groups Urge US to Oppose Kazakhstan's OSCE Bid
    The future of Hare Krishna devotees in Kazakhstan is still in doubt months after the government demolished two dozen homes of believers. Widespread human rights abuses by the government have mobilized human rights organizations in the US to oppose the Kazahk bid to chair an important international organization, the OSCE.
  • Kasakhstan Persecution Increases

    The Kazakh authorities have increased controls on religious communities in recent years, especially by banning unregistered religious activity and increasing punishments for it. Among recent victims have been Council of Churches Baptists, who refuse on principle to seek state registration, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • Local Property Dispute Grows Into International Issue for Kazakhstan

    SELEKSIA, Kazakhstan -- The house where Maya Salakhutdinova lived is now a shell of ruined walls with broken cinder blocks and splintered wood spilling in a heap onto a narrow lane. Last month, her house and 11 others in this village, a secluded enclave about an hour from Almaty, Kazakhstan's commercial capital, were bulldozed by court order.

    All the destroyed homes belonged to members of a Hare Krishna community, which has a temple in a converted farmhouse here, as well as 116 acres of farmland. A bulldozing in November leveled 14 Hare Krishna homes.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Authorities Demolish 12 More Homes in Hare Krishna Community
    The demolition of the homes began simultaneously in different areas of the summer colony. While the earth excavators were demolishing houses in one part of the village, workers destroyed the houses with sledgehammers and crowbars in another part. The earth excavators completed the work by leveling the houses to the ground.
  • SPECIAL REPORT: Crisis in Kazakhstan

    Karasai district officials brought busloads of laborers and police officers with them, indiscriminately taking crowbars and sledgehammers to the homes. They threw personal possessions out into the street, even as the horrified devotees pleaded with them and begged for mercy. Mechanical diggers then moved in, literally “crushing the houses to dust.”

    His Holiness BB Govinda Swami and Anuttama Dasa are in Washington, DC this week to raise awareness about the crisis in Kazakhstan, meeting with high-ranking US officials and human rights advocates. Govinda Swami is also collecting funds for the newly displaced devotees.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Human Rights Organizations Deliver Joint Statement on Fate of Krishna Community

    Another thirteen community houses are under the threat of being demolished and the Supreme Court ruling makes it possible for the authorities to confiscate the 116 acres of land at any moment. The IHF and HRWF urge the Kazakh authorities to strictly abide by the international human rights standards the country has committed itself to and to take all available measures to solve the case of the Hare Krishna community in a peaceful, fair and unbiased manner.

  • Foundation Stone Laid for new ISKCON Patna Temple
    While laying the foundation stone of a Radha Banke Bihari temple and Spiritual Center at the ISKCON temple in Patna on Saturday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that while all religions in the world preached peace for all, some people interpreted them in ways that were against the preaching of their religions.
  • Demolition of Kazakh Krishna Homes Halted, Cause Unknown
    Lyudmila Danilenko, an officer of the Religious Committee, said on behalf of the chairman of the Committee Yeraly Tugzhanov that the issue of the community is indeed under negotiation. Also she said that the Committee is interested to know who initiated the demolition, since there is an agreement that no force can be used until the conflict remains unresolved.
  • Krishna Community Demolition Halted, Cause Unknown

    Demolition of 13 houses in the Hare Krishna community of the Karasai district, Almaty province, appointed for May 4, 2007, was stopped.

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Hare Krishna Demolitions Held Off—For Now
    The latest demolition threat repeated an official warning given yesterday. The morning, the electricity supply to the commune's homes was cut off – but was then restored after 30 minutes. The only official who spoke to Forum 18, in the Justice Ministry's Religious Affairs Committee, refused to give his name and insisted that the dispute is economic and not religious discrimination.
  • ISKCON: Kazakhstan Update
  • ISKCON Members Bracing for Next Round of Attacks

    Kazakhstan continues aggression against minorities, ignores international outcry