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Krishna Followers Go On Hunger Strike Against Expulsion

by kommersant.com

Posted November 18, 2005

The conflict related to construction of Krishna Followers Temple gained momentum Saturday. Moscow authorities voiced intention to take out the allotment allocated for building the Vedic Culture Temple, Krishna followers responded by a hunger strike.

More than 500 people went on a long-term hunger strike Saturday, November 12, 2005, said Sergey Andreev, leader of the Moscow community of Krishna followers, in a move to preserve the allotment allocated in Moscow for the temple construction.

As a religious organization, Hare Krishna was officially acknowledged in Russia in 1988. Now the country has 106 registered communities of Krishna followers and over 300 parishes.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov sealed the ruling on constructing cultural premises for Krishna followers in Moscow in January 2004. The document sanctioned construction of the Vedic Center on the area of 1.05 hectares at 39 Leningrad Ave. to replace the two-store building demolished in Khoroshevkoe Avenue. To oppose construction, the orthodox followers staged a protest rally and vowed "to lie under bulldozers at the constriction site, "as this premise will desecrate Moscow," they said.

As a result, Luzhkov called off his ruling on October 7. "We think the authorities may proceed with decisive actions to expel Indian and Moscow Vaishnavs from habitable land, in which they have invested a lot," Andreev said. "We are truly concerned. We may be on the street deprived of even a temporarily temple."

Russian Article as of Nov. 14, 2005 kommersant.com