ISKCON into real estate business: DKS

Akshaya Patra foundation is selling Indias poverty abroad, alleges Congress working president

ISKCON into real estate business: DKS

 
Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly, Shivakumar charged the society of also selling India’s poverty abroad, and collecting donations through marketing gimmicks. He demanded that the Government should sever ties with Iskcon as far as implementation of the mid-day meal scheme is concerned, and immediately appoint an IAS officer to probe into the society’s activities and functioning.

Shivakumar charged that Iskcon’s Akshaya Patra Foundation was getting grants from the State for implementing the mid-day meal scheme meant for school children.

However, at the same time, the foundation was collecting donations across the globe, claiming that it is providing mid-day meals on its own. India was shown in poor light and its poverty exaggerated in advertisements and publicity material issued by Iskcon to collect donations, he alleged.

The society has raised funds to the tune of six lakh US dollars in the US in one year alone, he alleged.

He claimed while several NGOs were spending Rs 2.80 per meal for each child, Iskcon foundation was showing the cost at Rs 6. He accused the society of indulging in real estate business by developing residential and commercial complexes on 35 acres of private land near Vasanthapura on Kanakapura Road.

Shivakumar said he himself was a life-member of Iskcon, but got disenchanted when he came across the various ‘illegal activities’ of the society. He also claimed he was under tremendous pressure to refrain from taking up the issue in the legislature.

He said that a woman had come to him alleging that she had been sexually harassed at Iskcon premises. Shivakumar said he was ready to produce the woman as witness before any committee of the legislature.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the Government should not have involved non-governmental organisations in implementing the scheme. “Though a total of Rs 379 crore is being spent by the Government for the scheme in the State, Iskcon has projected as if it is implementing the scheme on its own. Nowhere in its brochures seeking donations for the scheme, has the society mentioned that the Government is also involved,” he charged.

In fact, Shivakumar had initially sought to move an adjournment motion on the issue, which Speaker Jagadish Shettar turned down. However, he allowed the discussion under rule 69.

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