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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
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

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