Religious persecution of Hare Krishna movement in Kazakhstan

ISKCON Kazakhstan Press Release

 

Society for Krishna Consciousness, Kazakhstan

January 28, 2009

On January 27, 2009, the religious leader of the International Society
for Krishna Consciousness, US citizen B.B. Govinda Swami, was deported
from the airport of Almaty while attempting to enter Kazakhstan. The
officials have given no explanation.

Govinda Swami was invited to Almaty by the Society for Krishna
Consciousness in Kazakhstan. With the valid passport and the valid visa to
Kazakhstan on hand, he arrived to the Almaty airport from Moscow on
January 27, 5:45 a.m. Govinda Swami was unexpectedly stopped at the
passport control desk: the border guards confiscated his passport and told
him that he would be deported back to Moscow. They did not disclose the
cause for deportation. The chief officer of the Airport Border Service did
not allow the lawyer of Govinda Swami, who came to the airport, to meet
with him.

Govinda Swami was kept in the airport for 12 hours. He was obliged to pay
for his ticket for the evening (6:55 p.m.) flight to Moscow. Govinda Swami
got his passport back only in Sheremetievo, Moscow.

The Society for Krishna Consciousness was informed of the so called “black
list” of personae non grata who cannot enter Kazakhstan. Govinda Swami’s
name was put in that list. According to information from the Committee of
Religious Affairs, the decision about prohibiting Govinda Swami from
entering the country was taken by the migration police of Actobe city that
acted on the order of the Actobe Prosecutor’s office.

The RK law stipulates that the decision about declaring a foreigner
persona non grata can only be taken by the court. Upon what rules of law
did the Actobe migration police base their decision against the US citizen
Govinda Swami? The Society for Krishna Consciousness, as the inviting
party, intends to go into court to appeal against the decision of the
Actobe authorities.

Society for Krishna Consciousness, Kazakhstan

PRESS RELEASE FROM A RELIGIOUS RIGHTS INSTITUTE IN WASHINGTON
CONTACT: Priya Abraham
202-835-8760/Abraham@religionandpolicy.org    

Institute condemns deportation of Hare Krishna leader from Kazakhstan

Washington, DC, Jan. 29, 2009—The Institute on Religion and Public 
Policy condemns the Jan. 27 deportation of the religious leader of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), B. B. Govinda Swami, from Kazakhstan.

According to ISKON, Govinda Swami was held without explanation at 
the airport in Almaty for 12 hours and denied entry into Kazakhstan, 
despite carrying a valid passport and visa. He was reportedly on a 
government list of people who are not allowed into Kazakhstan.

The move against Govinda Swami appears to be the latest in a Kazakh 
campaign to limit severely the activities of non-traditional 
religions in the country. Hare Krishnas continually face harassment 
and undue monitoring, and in a prominent case that began in 2006, 
lost a commune outside Almaty when the government first raided then 
seized their property.

“The Kazakh government seems to continually and erroneously view 
peaceful minority religions as a threat to security, and the 
country’s abysmal record on religious freedom shows it,” said 
Institute President Joseph K. Grieboski. “We call on the government 
of Kazakhstan to allow Govinda Swami to enter the country and meet 
with his fellow Hare Krishnas, and allow the community as a whole to 
worship freely.”

The Institute has consistently engaged the government of Kazakhstan 
on its religious freedom abuses, and has called on the Organization 
for Security and Cooperation in Europe to rescind the country’s 
scheduled 2010 chairmanship of the group. 

Click here 

(http://religionandpolicy.org/cms/index.php option=com_content&task=view&id=148
8&Itemid=342 > ) 

to read the Institute’s latest report on religious freedom in Kazakhstan, 
and here

(http://religionandpolicy.org/cms/index.php option=com_content&task=view&id=166
3&Itemid=242 > ) 

for a letter to President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

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2 responses to “Religious persecution of Hare Krishna movement in Kazakhstan

  1. My dear God-brothers of Kazakhstan, just like Prahlad Maharaj never gave up chanting Lord Vishnu’s name even though Hiranyakashipu kept tormenting him, similarly do not give up your righteous fight against the persecution unleashed by the demonic government. Krishna will never allow his devotees to be vanquished. It happened in Russia of the erstwhile USSR…ISKCON was officially recognised later. And so it will be in Kazakhstan. Our prayers & support are with you. Haribol. Dandavats.

  2. I am deeply inspired by the ongoing determination by his holiness BB Govinda Maharaj for his onging fight for freedom of a krishna conscious free lifestyl for kazak devotees. And through the grace of Srila Prabhupad and the Lord himself, the situation will meet due consensus as the saying goes, ”where there’s Krishna, theres victory”.

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