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What is India Editorial

United protest in New York to demand seer's release

Hindu groups demonstrated on a biting winter day and said the Kanchi seer's detention was part of a larger plan to destroy Hinduism. PRAKASH M SWAMY reports









What is India News Service

New York, 6 December 2004

Related STORIES

What does it mean to be a Hindu in India?
Unease grows in the hearts of common Indians as they watch a revered saint being arrested and humiliated, writes SOUMYA SITARAMAN

NOV 11 TURNED OUT LIKE SEPT 11 
When they heard news of the Kanchi seer's arrest, many outraged Indians in the US frantically called home. NRIs have also been organising prayers meetings to support an acharya they hold in high esteem. A round-up by PRAKASH M SWAMY

   


 


Over 250 people representing a rainbow of Hindu organizations staged a peaceful protest in front of the Consulate General of India on November 30.

They presented a petition to the Consul General condemning the vendetta of the Jayalalithaa government against the Kanchi Sankaracharya, and his continued detention.

 

Terming it as an outrageous assault on Hinduism, those gathered vented their feelings against the Tamil Nadu government for trying to foist cases against a venerated Hindu religious leader.

 

Braving cold and inclement weather, a large number of office-goers including women gathered before noon , holding placards to voice their protest and anguish over the inhuman treatment meted out to the 71-year- guru languishing in jail with common criminals.

They also raised slogans against a systematic move to destroy Hinduism in
India by attacking shrines and imprisoning Acharyas for selfish political gains.

 

The protest was orrganized by Narain Kataria, founder of Indo-American Intellectuals Forum and a prominent Hindu leader, with the support of over 30 organizations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation, International Federation of Bangladeshi Hindus and Hindu Temple Society of North America. Members and devotees of the Math staged a peaceful protest for over two hours and explained to passers-by the kind of religious suppression going on in the southern part of India.  Almost all priests from the Ganesh temple in Flushing, led by chief priest Bahirava Moorthy, were present at the rally.

 

Those who attended the rally included Gaurang Vaishnav, general secretary of VHP- USA, Raksh Pal Sood, advisor to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Rajesh Shukla and Arish Sahani of OF-BJP, Devendra Singh Sawhney of Sikh Sangat of America, Dr Uma Mysorekar, President of Hindu Temple Society of North America, Dr Narinder Kukar, former Chairman of the  Board of Directors of the Association of Indian in America, Dr A V Raghunath and K Guruvayurappan of Kanchi Kamkoti Seva Foundation, Br Krishnamoorthy, Acharya Chinmaya Mission, Prof Ved Chowdhary of Hindu International Council Against Defamation (HICAD), Ram Such Dev of Overseas Sindhu Sabha, Nagendra S Rao, Founder President of Sanatana Dharma Pratishthapana Foundation, N Lalchandani of Satya Narayan Temple, Venkat Sarma of Malayali Hindu Mandalam, Bidyut Sarkar of International Federation of Bangladeshi Hindus and Friends, Dr Sudhakar Reddy of American Telugu Association, and Subhash Arora of Arya Samaj.

 

“For the first time, we are witnessing complete unity among Hindus as both the factions of the Overseas Friends of BJP (Arish Sahani and Rajesh Shukla) and the Hindu Temple Society of North America (Dr Uma Mysorekar and Venkiah Dhama) were present at the rally. This only shows that Hindus in the US are more united than their brethren back home whose voice was feeble in India ,” said Kataria.

 

Dr Kukar said the Hindus in India were to blame for the pathetic situation. He lamented, “The seer was abused and kept in solitary confinement. The government is spreading falsehood deliberately to divert its inability to produce evidence in the court. The Indian media has usurped the powers of the judiciary and convicted the Sankaracharya even before the investigation is complete. All this and more only manifest the deep-rooted anger against Hindus and those raising their voice against forcible conversions."

 

“The Acharya’s life is in danger and the cops are indulging in psychological torture unheard of in the history of free India . Not even the Nazis and the British inflicted such a cruel treatment on their adversaries,” he added.

 

Describing the detention as the work of a police raj, Kukar said he was confident that the seer would come out unscathed and work more vigorously for Hindu dharma.

 

Dr Uma Mysorekar said the government should stop harassing the saint and release him forthwith. Narrow partisan politics in the state is affecting the execution of law enforcement and justice resulting in discriminatory and unjust treatment of His Holiness. He was prevented from following religious practices and cooking his own food. The federal government should intervene and immediately release the Acharya.

 

Gaurang Vaishnav said when Sheikh Abdullah, who faced sedition charges and was jailed by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, could cool his heels in a bungalow on a hill station, why should a most revered seer of Hindu religion be kept in solitary confinement? "How many politicians, convicted in corruption cases, were sent to jail?” he asked.

 

At the end of the rally, a delegation led by prominent leaders met with Consul General Paramathesh Rath and presented petitions addressed to President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Governor of Tamil Nadu Surjit Singh Barnala and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani.

Related stories

What does it mean to be a Hindu in India? Unease grows in the hearts of common Indians as they watch a revered saint being arrested and humiliated, writes SOUMYA SITARAMAN

NOV 11 TURNED OUT LIKE SEPT 11 When they heard news of the Kanchi seer's arrest, many outraged Indians in the US frantically called home. NRIs have also been organising prayers meetings to support an acharya they hold in high esteem. A round-up by PRAKASH M SWAMY

   

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