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“There is no arrest order on Jayapataka Maharaja issued by the police anywhere in the world. Since there is no warrant of arrest on him, he is not on the run. As a sannyasi, he is traveling and preaching as he has always been doing all these years on the direct order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.”

      Responding to JPS Accusations

Ritviks Rant and Rave - Response to Allegations that Jayapataka Swami is on the Run
By Goloka Chandra das

If you have received recent mass mailings from the IRM or read their postings on public forums, and want to know what's really going on, then read this text which presents all the known facts of a case currently under investigation. Be warned though that it's a sordid case.

As many devotees are aware, there was a recent accusation of rape occurring inside the Gurusadaya Road IRM premises in Calcutta. The person accused of this crime was jailed and subsequently found dead, leaving behind a note in a diary that implicated several ISKCON Mayapur devotees as allegedly fabricating the rape. IRM Calcutta, led by their president Adridharan das, is using this note to try to target HH Jayapataka Maharaja.

They are trying to petition the courts and local police, and spreading email rumors that the ISKCON guru is on the run from police. At the outset, let's establish the following facts, which can be verified by any independent party:

1) There is no arrest order on Jayapataka Maharaja issued by the police anywhere in the world.

2) Since there is no warrant of arrest on him, he is not on the run. As a sannyasi, he is traveling and preaching as he has always been doing all these years on the direct order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Having established the above, while there are many matters yet to be solved in the on-going police investigation into the death of Suresvara das, it is premature (to say the least) to point the finger at anybody, much less a sannyasi far away from the scene of crime.

Suresvara das died while in police custody over a rape charge against him. The IRM however are sending e-mails to everyone to create the impression that the Maharaja had a hand in the death of his disciple, fabricated the rape case itself using the widow of another disciple, and then fled the country when the police got hot on his trail. Aren’t these the makings of a suspense thriller?

The plot leaves the readers hanging with many questions unanswered. The purpose of this response is to address such questions. It is written in the belief that the readers deserve to know all the facts of this case so that they can judge for themselves who is speaking the truth.

Let's start with some undisputed facts:

1) Suresvara das, a resident devotee working under the authority of IRM temple president Adridharan das, was arrested in Calcutta on June 29 after the alleged victim had lodged a police report that he had raped her at Gurusadaya Road earlier the same day.

2) On August 3, while still under custody pending trial, Suresvara das was found dead in his cell. A diary found in the cell named eight persons as having pushed him into suicide.

By remarkable coincidence the eight persons named, including the Maharaja, are all from ISKCON and well known to be strongly anti-ritvik. Immediately it raises suspicion of a setup. Is somebody out to make political capital out of this case?

Many more questions are raised: How did the diary get inside the cell when normally such things are taken off a prisoner? Was it planted there? Did the handwriting match? Was it suicide by hanging as the jail-keepers have reported, or murder? The post-mortem report stated that injuries were found on other parts of his body but not on his neck - and this information was published in the leading newspapers of Bengal.

Instead of answering up to such questions, the IRM tried to deflect the blame by accusing Jayapataka Maharaja and the others named in the note of having pushed Suresvara to commit suicide by fabricating rape charges against him. Never mind the fact that when the scandal blew up on June 29, Jayapataka Maharaja was thousands of miles away preaching in Russia, unaware that his disciple had been arrested by the police for alleged rape.

The Maharaja only returned to India on July 3. Devotees in Russia and India can independently verify these facts. That's when he heard about the case and met with the alleged rape victim Basanti Devi, widow of a recently departed disciple.

Apparently, the Maharaja earned the IRM's ire for showing sympathy to the alleged victim who is under his shelter. He said: "I could see she is a very simple lady. She couldn't lie about such a thing, in my humble opinion. In any case, the matter had already gone to the police and the courts would decide who is innocent or guilty. It was not something I needed to even consider. If a woman comes and says she was raped, I am glad my disciples gave her shelter and helped her. That is what any gentle, civilised person is supposed to do. Not to sweep it under the rug and leave her unprotected. If a lady says she was raped, it is only proper that she makes a complaint with the police. To not help her in doing that would be immoral. Why doesn't Adri Dharan das do something to alleviate the suffering of the widow instead of making this a big issue?"

Still the IRM insists that no such attack occurred in spite of the fact that the police are still investigating the case. They had detained Suresvara das for more than a month and had sent semen stains found on the woman's clothing for DNA testing. The DNA report is being awaited, after the testing machine, which is said to be under repair currently, has been fixed.

The Maharaja asked: "My public statement on this case is why Adri Dharan das didn't at least give the lady the benefit of the doubt, instead of taking the one-sided position that she was lying and Suresvara das was telling the truth?"

He added: "I don't want to politicize such a thing. ISKCON Mayapur did not publish anything about the rape case, except in defence of attacks from Calcutta. It isn't an issue that we can see having any relevance to the Calcutta ritvik situation. It is the ritvik leaders who have politicised this issue and presented it publicly as some kind of conspiracy on our part."

The IRM article presented a letter purportedly from the Hastings Road police station inquiring about the passport details of Jayapataka Maharaja and others. What it doesn't inform the readers is the following:

1) The case was already taken out of the jurisdiction of the Hastings station by the police chief of Calcutta and is now being handled by the Central Detective Department. So a letter from somebody who has no jurisdiction over it cannot be taken as authoritative.

2) Jayapataka Maharaja is a citizen of India with all due rights in the country as any other Indian. The government of India already has all his passport details and need not go to the IRM for help. That Jayapataka Maharaja is a citizen of India is due to the special mercy and foresight of Srila Prabhupada who ordered him to take up Indian citizenship so that he can represent and protect ISKCON's assets in the future from exactly the same kinds of threats as the IRM (who have already usurped two ISKCON temples in India). Ten thousand Indians petitioned the government to grant Jayapataka Maharaja citizenship.

In a message to his disciples and followers on his email conference, the Maharaja said: "I left India for a Rathayatra in Malaysia. I attended the opening of the Mauritius Temple, the Deity installation of Sri Sri Radha Syamasundara in Alachua, Florida, and am publicly preaching and doing my tour. I am not fleeing or hiding from anyone and there is no reason to do so. I will soon return to India and deal with the legal matters pending. I see no reason to be concerned, but may be my traveling and preaching will be delayed by their attacks. It all depends on Lord Sri Krishna ultimately."

"This is just another new level of attack that the ritviks have stooped to against ISKCON leaders. It is amazing that they have done all this and yet claim that ISKCON is acting against them. I haven't done anything against them, but they are attacking me...I hope the Vaisnavas will pray for me as I don't know what the next thing these ritviks will try to do against me."

© CHAKRA 27-September-2000

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