The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ram to Krishna, CPM smells threat in Iskcon

Krishnagar, Dec. 7: The CPM in Nadia has described Iskcon (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) as a “major threat” to communists.

A document published on the occasion of the recent district party conference says Iskcon helps “communal forces” like “the RSS and the BJP”.

The Congress has been accused of “hobnobbing” with the religious group headquartered in Nabadwip, 100km from Calcutta, for support.

“Organisations like the RSS and some NGOs are fanning communal passions in the district,” says the document drafted by CPM district secretary Ashu Ghosh.

“Our local leaders have been campaigning against Iskcon activities for years. We have compiled information on Iskcon on the basis of reports from our local leaders and sent it to higher authorities in the party,” Ghosh told The Telegraph.

In the chapter “Birodhi Shaktir Biruddhe Larai (Fight against opposition forces)”, the document says: “Iskcon-er bhumika kromosho bipajjanak hoye uthchhey (The role of Iskcon is gradually becoming dangerous).”

Ramesh Das, the Iskcon publicity manager, wondered “why the CPM has branded us like this after ruling the state for 30-odd years”.

He said several communist leaders like politburo member Sitaram Yechury and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar have not only visited its temples but also stayed over. “We were delighted to host them.”

Das added: “We want to convey for their (the CPM’s) information that we have devotees from all walks of life and from all over the world.”

The CPM denied the claim about its leaders staying there. “I’ve never heard of it,” said veteran leader Benoy Konar.

The Nadia CPM had earlier accused Iskcon of acquiring around 500 acres in Mayapur in the name of small NGOs to bypass the land ceiling law. Acting on its report, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee asked his land minister to conduct a probe.

Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah came to Nadia for the inquiry, following which the government shot down the proposal for a Rs 500-crore vedic village planned by Iskcon devotee and Henry Ford’s grandson Alfred Ford.

The latest document, distributed among senior leaders of the district during the November 30-December 2 conference, says Iskcon has become an “agent of the Congress, Trinamul Congress and the BJP”.

“It has established itself as a major force against communists here.”

Party sources said the conference discussed the issue in the presence of state secretary Biman Bose and industries minister Nirupam Sen.

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