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OSCE Expresses 'Deep Concern' At Kazakh Hare Krishna Move


November 27, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Experts advising the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on religion issues say they are "deeply concerned" by reports that Kazakh authorities are destroying the only Hare Krishna commune in the former Soviet Union.

The Warsaw-headquartered OSCE Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion or Belief says in a statement today that it believes Hare Krishna followers are being targeted because of their religious affiliation.

The panel says it is ready to discuss the issue directly with Kazakh officials and urges them to halt any further demolition work on the 48-hectare farm.

The Oslo-based Forum 18 religious freedom group reported on November 21 that authorities began bulldozing structures at the Sri Vrindavan Dham farming commune on the outskirts of Almaty.

Forum 18 reported that almost one-quarter of the Hare Krishna-owned property, which reportedly includes 13 residential buildings, had been destroyed by November 24.

Kazakh authorities claim the commune is located on land that was acquired illegally.

(osce.org, forum18.org, palaceofthesoul.com)

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