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U.S. Urges Kazakhs To Stop Harassing Hare Krishna

December 7, 2006 -- The United States has urged Kazakh authorities to end what it describes as an "aggressive" campaign against Hare Krishna followers.

The call is contained in a statement released today by the U.S. Embassy in Astana.

The statement questions the legal basis of a Kazakh court ruling ordering the destruction of the Sri Vrindavan Dham, a sprawling farming commune near Almaty.

Sri Vrindavan Dham is the only Hare Krishna commune in the CIS.

Kazakh police on November 21 began to bulldoze the residential buildings and other property of Hare Krishna followers.

Judicial authorities say the land on which the commune is built was acquired illegally. They reject suggestions that Hare Krishna followers are being persecuted on religious grounds.

Experts advising the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on religion issues on November 27 expressed concern at the demolition work and offered to mediate between Kazakh authorities and commune members.

(Kazakhstan Today, AP)