Chakra Discussions

How Do We Judge?

by Shantasya dasi (ISKCON Belfast)

Posted May 26, 2006

[Editor's note: For more information, please see Click Here for an article by Tamohara prabhu, the Director of the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection and a link to their website]

In response to the latest articles about Dhanurdhara's child abuse accusations, I would like to know how we bring an accused person to justice in ISKCON and, if need be, into the hands of the law.

Do we have the required fair trial procedures by which a person's testimony can be taken in a non-judgmental manner and let him, if he so wishes, defend himself? Do we have a way by which aggrieved parties can file a complaint to an appointed body and be represented when official discussions on the matter are carried out?

Do we have a Vaisnava way of enforcing a rectification for misconduct to the properly judged person, if that person is actually found guilty? Do we have a way by which a falsely accused and slurred person can get his name cleared, if that person were found innocent?

What I see at the moment is similar to 'trial by media' conducted by various devotees. Why not to bring the accused person into a proper trial? Why not appoint a qualified person (either a professional or senior Vaisnava in good standing) to prepare a detailed presentation by which all friends, family, ex-teachers, fellow ashram inmates, etc. can be interviewed, bear witness or provide any correspondence to substantiate the accusation?

Do we have the institutional power to force the accused person to publicly state his position in regard to the alleged accusations? What about suspending his ISKCON status and revenues, freezing assets, etc. till the matter is cleared?