SUMMER 2005 - In BTP 5 we reported on BTP distribution, which took place at Rathayatra festivals in the UK in 2004. We reported how our distributors were attacked and beaten up by thugs instigated by the festival organisers. Now amazingly, in an account given of these events in an ISKCON endorsed publication*, Vaisnava Connection, written by its publisher and one of the festival organisers for the UK Rathayatras, Antardwip Das, the violence we reported in BTP has been admitted! He reproduces in full our report of the violence from BTP 5, and then makes no attempt to claim that our account was in anyway inaccurate, but rather comments on the violence in our report by saying:

“The devotees who take action against the ritviks in all three Rathayatras are generally our younger members. […] The blows the ritviks get are given out of love for Srila Prabhupada. They are not violence.”
(Antardwip Das, publisher, Vaisnava Connection, Vol. 8, Issue 2, March/April 2005)

What is shocking about this admission is that at the same time Antardwip also states:

“They (ritviks) have a right to attend Rathayatras and they have a right to pass out their Back to Prabhupada magazines there – and they exercise this right.”
(Antardwip Das, publisher, Vaisnava Connection, Vol. 8, Issue 2, March/April 2005)

So Antardwip (pictured left) is claiming in the same breath, that though we do have a right to pass out BTPs at Rathayatra festivals, we can also be attacked with blows, since these blows are expressions of “love,” not violence!

It is this type of crazy, warped thinking, given by ISKCON organisers like Antardwip, where violence is actually considered an expression of love, that has contributed to ISKCON today rightly being perceived as a violent cult.

  • Has Antardwip learned nothing from the excesses of ISKCON’s past, where dissenters were even murdered, all in the name of giving “love” on behalf of Srila Prabhupada?

Antardwip then has some of those involved in the attack on the BTP distributors at the Birmingham Rathayatra give their personal accounts of what happened:

“I do not condone the actions of the devotees against the Ritviks, because I feel violence should never be used and should not be tolerated.”
(Shyam Deb, Vaisnava Connection, Vol. 8, Issue 2, March/April 2005)

Obviously, the fact that the above person feels compelled to say that he does not condone the actions of the ISKCON devotees against the ritviks is itself telling.

Also, having told us that he does not condone the violence against the ritviks, in another account given in the same magazine by one of his colleagues, we are told that HE was one of those perpetrating the violence!

“On turning left, I saw Shyam beating the Ritvik brahmacari, so I handled Shyam of and told him to stand in the comer.”
(Janardan/Joe, Vaisnava Connection, Vol. 8, Issue 2, March/April 2005)

Here, Janardan states he had to actually save the BTP distributor from getting beaten up by Shyam, who had just told us he does not condone violence against ritviks! Janardan also reports how many persons chased the 2 lone BTP distributors into a SHOPPING MALL:

“Then in the shopping mall, more devotees particularly the youth group gathered to move them on. I saw everyone running into the mall and Krupesh & I went to investigate.”
(Janardan/Joe, Vaisnava Connection, Vol. 8, Issue 2, March/April 2005)

Now in BTP 5 we reported how, after getting beaten up at the festival site which was a public park, for safety our 2 distributors retreated to a shopping mall where they thought they would be safe. The fact that it is admitted that many people then went looking for them in the shopping mall proves that they were intent on beating our 2 devotees up.

Vaisnava Connection” – an apt title since it promotes “connecting” to Vaisnavas you disagree with through violent “blows” given out of love”.

*Antardwip Das is listed as the official Festival Coordinator, ISKCON UK Leicester Rathayatra 2004: http://www.iskcon.org.uk/leicester/rathayatra/contacts.html (viewed 9 June 2005)

The official ISKCON web site, http://www.iskcon.org.uk/links/ advertises Vaisnava Connection as an “Excellent magazine edited by Antadwip Dasa,” and provides a link to it (viewed 9 June, 2005)

In addition, Dipika.org, an ISKCON approved web site run by an ISKCON approved Guru, Umapati Swami, also carried an advertisement for “Vaisnava Connection,” stating it is a magazine for the ISKCON UK community.