A Timeline: How ISKCON Devotees were Subjected to Attacks?


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), otherwise known as the Hare Krishna movement, includes five hundred major centers, temples, and rural communities, nearly one hundred affiliated vegetarian restaurants, thousands of namahattas or local meeting groups, a wide variety of community projects, and millions of congregational members worldwide. Although less than fifty years on the global stage, ISKCON has expanded widely since its founding by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda in New York City in 1966.

ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradāya from Vedic or Hindu culture. Philosophically it is based on the Sanskrit texts Bhagavad-gītā and the Bhagavat Purana, or Srimad Bhagavatam. From public engagement to the distribution of highly-knowledgeable literature, ISKCON has been instrumental in taking Hinduism and the love of Bhagwan Krishna globally. There are NO missionary activities by ISKCON. Instead, it supports preaching. Members try to spread Krishna consciousness primarily by singing the Hare Krishna mantra in public places and sharing the knowledge of Hinduism.

However, despite its apparent beautiful practice of singing and spreading consciousness, ISKCON has suffered at the hands of extremists in almost all parts of the world. Today, I want to mention some instances of brutality against the members of ISKCON by insecure radicals.

From 1971 to 1989, ISKCON devotees in the Soviet Union were jailed and beaten for performing their faith publicly by the KGB. The KGB began persecuting Soviet Hare Krishna devotees in 1982, forcing them into hiding. Meetings were held in forests near Moscow. The two most active preachers, Vishvamitra and Surya, were arrested and imprisoned.

In 2007, the Kazakhstan government authorities demolished 25 homes belonging to the ISKCON members in the Sri Vrindavan Dham commune in Almaty. Members of ISKON had bought land in 1999 and built a temple on the property. An insecure Kazakhstan government illegally revoked the sale deed and demolished Hindu homes.

In 2009, an orphanage run by the ISKCON Chittagong (Sri Sri Radha Madhava Mandir) in Bangladesh was attacked by radical Islamic Terrorists. The gang vandalized furniture and a statue in the orphanage and beat the devotees mercilessly. They also tried to take control of the temple and the orphanage.

In 2015, the ISKCON Temple, Dinajpur in Bangladesh, was attacked by Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh terrorists. The terrorists opened fire, and at least two people were injured in the attack. In 2016, the ISKCON Sylhet in Bangladesh was attacked by Muslims, and at least ten people were injured in that attack.

In 2018, the gate of the ISKCON Temple in Curitiba, Brazil, was targeted by unknown perpetrators. The painting of Krishna with his mother Yashoda was defaced.

In 2021, during Navami (15 October), a Muslim Mob attacked the ISKCON temple in Noakhali, Bangladesh, and killed two devotees.

The current Modi-lead Indian government has been actively involved in diplomatic activities with different countries and therefore the attacks have reduced considerably.

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