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Kazakh Hare Krishnas Ask OSCE To Help Defend Rights

Govinda Swami, the coordinator of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
WARSAW -- Kazakhstan's Hare Krishna community has called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to help it defend its rights, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Govinda Swami, the coordinator of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, criticized Kazakh authorities at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw on September 29 for their actions against the Hare Krishna community.

Swami said the Kazakh government has demolished 26 houses that belonged to families of Hare Krishna members and confiscated property belonging to the community.

He added that the 116 acres of the Krishna society's private farm was also confiscated.

Swami said the attacks by Kazakhstan's pro-government media have ended, but the property issue still needs to be resolved.

Swami said the Hare Krishna community calls "on the OSCE to draw the attention of the Kazakh authorities to this issue and hopes for a fair and positive resolution."

In January, Swami was deported from Kazakhstan after landing at the Almaty airport even though he had a valid visa.

The Kazakh government has been in conflict with the Hare Krishna community since fall 2008, when Almaty Oblast officials decided to demolish houses belonging to Krishna followers who were living on the Almaty outskirts.