New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) A major controversy has erupted over BJP MP and former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi’s remarks concerning the International Society for Krishna Consciousness as she termed it the “biggest cheat in the country” and accused it of selling cows from its gaushalas (cow shelters) to butchers. The ISKCON has refuted the claims.
In a video that went viral, the BJP MP, who is also an animal rights activist, can be heard saying, “ISKCON is the biggest cheat in the country. It maintains gaushalas and get benefits from the government, including vast lands.”
She also recalled her visit to ISKCON’s Anantpur Gaushala in Andhra Pradesh, where she claimed that she couldn’t find any cow that doesn’t give milk or calves.
“There was no dry cow in the entire dairy. Not a single calf was there. It means all were sold,” she is heard saying in the video.
“ISKCON is selling all its cows to butchers. No one else does this as much as they do. And they go and sing ‘Hare Ram, Hare Krishna’ on the roads. Then they say their entire life is dependent on milk. Probably, no one has sold as many cattle to the butchers as they did,” she alleged.
However, Maneka’s allegations were rejected by ISKCON, whose national spokesperson Yudhistir Govinda Das shared the statement on social media platform X, and said, “Response to the unsubstantiated and false statements of Maneka Gandhi. ISKCON has been at the forefront of cow and bull protection and care not just in India but globally. The cows and bulls are served for their life not sold to butchers as alleged.”
In the statement, ISKCON said, “A video of Maneka Gandhi has come to our notice wherein unsubstantiated and false information regarding ISKCON and its cow care standards has been presented. ISKCON has pioneered cow protection in many parts of the world where beef is a staple diet. Within India, ISKCON runs more than 60 gaushalas protecting hundreds of sacred cows and bulls and providing personalised care for their entire lifetime.”
It said that many of the cows served in ISKCON’s gaushalas were brought to the society after being found abandoned, injured, or rescued from being slaughtered. It said that in recent times, ISKCON has begun training programs for the farmers and rural households on cow care techniques to help revive the culture of cow worship and care as was the case in previous generations.
“Several ISKCON gaushalas are recognised and lauded for their high cow-care standards by the Government or association of gaushalas,” it said.
“Maneka Gandhi is a well-known animal rights activist and well-wisher of ISKCON hence we are surprised by these statements. The documents provided herein by the local officials will help shed light on the actual scenario,” it added.
Meanwhile, Radharamn Das, vice president and spokesperson ISKCON Kolkata in a tweet said that “we will sue her if she does not apologise for her wrong statements.”