Kazakhs Bulldoze Hare Krishna Commune

November 21, 2006 — A Norwegian-based religious-freedom group reported that authorities in southern Kazakhstan today began the demolition of the only Hare Krishna commune in the former Soviet Union.

Forum 18 quoted a Hare Krishna spokesman, Maksim Varfolomeev, as saying riot police sealed off the 48-hectare farming commune before the bulldozing began.

Eyewitnesses said three homes of Hare Krishna devotees had been destroyed by mid-afternoon and that the windows of all other homes had been smashed.

Forum 18 said an OSCE human rights officer was monitoring developments at the site, which is in the region of Almaty.

The group added that it was snowing in Almaty and that overnight temperatures were expected to drop below freezing.

Forum 18 said the order to demolish the homes was issued by the Karasai District Court, where the commune is based, delivered on November 20, and is being carried out by court executors.

The religious-freedoms group also claimed the demolition “contradicts earlier Kazakh official assurances” that the authorities’ long-running bid to seize the site was on hold, a claim that could not be independently confirmed.

The complex includes 13 residential buildings.

Forum 18 said officials would not respond to questions about why the structures were being demolished.

It quoted a representative of the Hare Krishna community saying that officials had pledged no action would be taken until the results of an official probe into the dispute.

We appreciate your support

One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Radio Free Europe, USA
Nov. 21, 2006

More About This Subject

This post was last updated: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 at 3:32 AM, Central European Time (CET)