Skip to main content

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

The Soho St temple and Govinda's restaurant before the pandemic
By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.
At the same time, ISKCON UK has sharply criticized “social media” claims that 100 devotees in the UK had contracted coronavirus.  A report in ISKCON News by Madhava Smullen quotes top ISKCON office bearer, Praghosa Das, as “clearing up” the impression, perpetuated “in some corners of the Internet, that management was irresponsible”. It blames unidentified devotees for "false" social media posts in this regard.
The report says that “the dates are very important” before putting the blame on ISKCON UK,  underlining, the “funeral and memorial were on the March 12 and 15. But Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, only issued the stay-at-home order on March 23.”
It continues, social distancing guidelines, recommending that people stay at least two meters away from each other, had not yet been issued in the UK, nor had stricter-than-usual limits on the amount of people allowed into a building at one time, adding, "Although other countries, such as Italy, Spain and France, did have such restrictions at the time, the UK did not…”
With 21 confirmed cases of those who participated in the 1,000 strong gathering at Bhaktivedanta Manor and Soho St in London, and five deaths, the report, significantly, calls ISKCON UK as "amongst the worst affected communities by COVID-19", adding, "Several are in critical condition, including younger devotees in their thirties and forties."
Even as expressing  "thoughts, sympathies and prayers" for those among the devotees who have suffered, a top ISKCON UK office bearer, Praghosa Das, has been quoted as taking strong exception to "some corners" of the Internet were seeking to create the impression that the management was "irresponsible."
“The dates are very important,” Das says, adding, “Srutidharma Prabhu’s funeral and memorial were on the March 12 and 15. But Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, only issued the stay-at-home order on March 23." And, at the  the events happened, people in the UK "were still going about their normal business, and there were no directives against holding such events."
Praghosa Das cleared up the impression perpetuated on the Internet that management was responsible for spreading  coronavirus
While the "devotees and organizers at the events followed all then-current guidelines given by the UK government, including regularly washing hands – hand sanitizing gel was placed at various points around the venue – coughing into one’s elbow, and not shaking hands", Das asserts, "Social distancing guidelines, recommending that people stay at least two meters away from each other, had not yet been issued in the UK."
This was in sharp contrast to "other countries, such as Italy, Spain and France", which "did have such restrictions at the time", Das tells ISKCON News, even though admitting that the spread of "the virus amongst the UK devotee community can be traced back largely to the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president Srutidharma Das – the former of which drew about 1,000 people."
The Bhaktivedanta Manor
ISKCON temples in UK have been closed since March 16, and all temple presidents and other leaders hold conference calls, the report says, claiming, ever since the tragedy struck the devotees, the management is "consistently reinforcing that everybody must follow all of the directives and guidelines from the UK government.”
Each temple has created its own coronavirus team, the report continues, adding, this includes the Temple President and other senior leaders; a devotee with medical training; and a communications person. The team meets on a regular basis online to assess their local temple’s situation, and the devotees who become ill are "immediately" self-isolated, but are offered "prasadam and all the essentials they require.”
Asking devotees not to take things, Das has been quoted as saying, “We are in the material world, there is a pandemic that is affecting the whole world, and there is no vaccine for it. It’s not that somehow or other by chanting Hare Krishna it’s going to stop us from getting this virus – we have seen numerous cases of devotees being affected by it and sadly passing away."
In the meantime, Praghosa appeals to the worldwide ISKCON community, “Please do not be harsh on the devotees in the UK yatra. They didn’t deliberately do something they shouldn’t have done. They thought they were following everything they had to follow. So please wish them the best, pray for them, and hope that they all fully recover.”

Comments

Uma said…
Something about religion--makes people lose their common sense and follow the herd.
Ajatshatru said…
Still waiting for an apology from the Jamaat top management.ISKCON guys have messed up big time,but atleast they owned up to their mistake.Jamaat members on the other hand are busy whining about 'conspiracy' against their religion.
tspscinfo.com said…
Those who participated must go to hospital before more peoples suffer.. www.tspscinfo.com
Milind Bhawar said…
Similar to what happened in Markaj, Delhi, India BUT so dissimilar in putting the blame on entire community . This is the difference between democratic state and a fascist becoming state and it's paid media.
Anonymous said…
ban this conversion mafia
Anonymous said…
In India they never admit it as their mistake. The jamat head even insisted to break the lockdown, they are not coming to hospitals to test.
Unknown said…
Humanity wins not Fascism
James P J said…
No move in Britain yet to characterise it as ISKON virus, the Hindu counterpart of "Tablighi virus" in India?
Dom said…
One would be entitled to expect a more enlightened approach to this whole situation / or a less " lamestream " approach if you prefer , coming from people who claim to have some spiritual level , but after mainly betraying Swami Prabhupada , the level does not encompass things like herbal medicine , and certainly not the notion that smoking ( be it temporarily ) things like (bio)tobacco ( according to some )or marijuana that may kill that virus dead within the lungs ... where it appearently likes to hang out to ... kill you ... as it were !!!

Shit for brains !!!
UK may become India from all point of view including attacks on Religious Minorities like Muslims,Sikhs,Christians,Budhists besides SC ST OBC if TV Channels like Times now,Zee TV,India TV,India Today,Aaj Tak&Newspapers like Dainik Jagran,AmarUjala etc r allowed to function
gembet99 said…
This article content is really unique and amazing.This article really helpful and explained very well.So i am really thankful to you for sharing keep it up..

เกมบาคาร่าออนไลน์
sarkarijob said…
Similar to what happened in MARJAZ, DELHI, India. But so dissimilar in putting the blame on entire MUSlIM community. www.esarkarijob.com
Anonymous said…
It's good to see how people react it in first world country like UK, otherwise with same situation in India media done a trial against whole Muslim community, which is really shameful where this UK a d India incident are purely human errors. Hats off to sensible and educated media and people of UK. I pray to India to give Indian prostitute media journalist give little wisdom.
Anonymous said…
jamaat cooperated , dont talk non sense

TRENDING

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey*  In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered. Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases. Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or i

'Extremist' US Hindu global group funding hate against Indian Churches: NGO groups

Counterview Desk  As many as 14 civil rights and faith-based organizations in co-signing a letter to the US Senators, Representatives, State Governor, and other elected officials have demanded the FBI, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Department of Justice should investigate into Texas-based organization Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) a fundraiser campaign for demolishing churches in India. Co-signed by Federation of Indian American Christian Organization in North America (FIACONA), North American Church of God, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Human Rights Program, Amnesty International - Dallas, World Without Genocide, Center for Pluralism, Genocide Watch, The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Limitless Church, Justice for All, Hindu for Human Rights, North Texas Peace Advocates, Good Citizens of DFW, and the North Texas Islamic Council, the letter has been sent to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Representatives Michael C Burgess, Pat Fallon, Van Taylor, Terr

Carbon abatement to tackle climate change: India's failure has 'outpaced' its success

By Satorupa Karmakar*  On November 01, 2021, India took a pledge of reaching a carbon-zero stage by 2070, at the COP-26 held in Glasgow, UK. As ‘ambitious’ and dubious it may sound to some, with a short-term delay in renewable energy generation (which gained the pace post-September 2020) and drastic fall in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission level as COVID-19 emerged as a ‘necessary evil’ , the path of India’s clean energy mission could be seen being paved throughout this time. Currently ranked as the third largest GHG emitter in the world, India is projected to demand more energy in coming years due to a large population base (1.3 billion as per 2011 Census data) and primarily coal-based fast-growing economy. Rapid industrialisation in post-colonial developing countries like India, stimulated by a larger and cheaper pool of fossil fuels and labour-force depicted a continuous upsurge in temperature, heavy precipitation in some places with an overall declining rainfall and a burgeoning soc

BJP-RSS trap opposition in 'futile row' around Savarkar, freedom movement

By Prem Singh*  Everything in this article is just a repetition. I have been saying all this since 1991-92. It is obvious that the Congress and the RSS/BJP do not like my ideas. But most socialists, advocates of social justice and communists also dislike my thoughts. I watch their measures and efforts to deal with the present crisis with interest. I respect them and also participate. Yet, the fact it, we fall behind again and again, and the crisis goes ahead. Instead of being a solution-providers, we are seen to be a part of the crisis. How long will this last? Perhaps, if the new generation thinks differently, things may turn for better! 1 To say that modern Indian society and politics are passing through the deepest crisis ever will surely be a repetition. The crisis is deeper than the spreading of communal hatred we witness around us. In fact, the business of communal hatred is flourishing by taking its manure and water from the deep crisis. The crisis of neo-colonial slavery is pro

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

'Unprecedented rise' of attacks on students of Delhi university by ABVP condemned

Counterview Desk  A statement, sent as an email alert by "concerned teachers and students of Delhi University", referring to a protest organised against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP's), has alleged “brutal” attack on students and teachers demanding the release of civil rights leader Prof GN Saibaba and others from “unjust incarceration.” “We are seeing an unprecedented rise of attacks on the students of our university by the fascist ABVP goons. Almost every week we see our fellow students and activists getting attacked physically by the lackeys of this current Brahmanical Hindutva fascist regime”, the statement claimed. Text : A joint protest was organised by the students and teachers of Delhi University on 2nd of December against the brutal attack by ABVP goons. On 1st of December, activists of Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Lawyers Against Atrocities (LAA) and many other organisations as a part of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR),

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w

Muslims, Dalits off Bangladesh border 'don't have acess to' water, power, farmland

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, civil rights group Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), in a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, has revealed how, even after 75 years of Independence, Muslims and Dalits living next to the India-Bangladesh border do not have access to electricity, drinking water, even to their own land. Stating that the “horrible situation” has due to “illegal restriction on the agricultural activities” imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF), plunging “farmers and their families into deeper poverty”, the letter, referring to the plight of 1,200 people reside in the Changmari village, states, There are about 200 acres of cultivable lands out of 3,500 acres is situated beyond the border fence. “The ingress and egress of the farmers to their own agricultural land through the fencing gates are regulated by the BSF. The soil and climate of this region is very suitable for jute and maize cultivation”, it adds. Text: This letter is

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl