The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the country’s ‘biggest cheat’ as it sells cows of its own gaushalas (stables) to butchers, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi said in a scathing attack on the religious organisation.
ISKCON, the world’s most influential Krishna sect, has rejected the allegations, calling them “baseless and false.”
Response to Smt Maneka Gandhi’s unsubstantiated and false statements.
ISKCON has been at the forefront of the protection and care of cows and bulls, not only in India but across the world.
The cows and bulls are served throughout their lives and not sold to butchers as is claimed. pic.twitter.com/GRLAe5B2n6
– Yudhistir Govinda Das (@yudhistirGD) September 26, 2023
Ms Gandhi, a former union minister and animal rights activist, speaks out on social media on animal welfare issues.
“ISKCON is the biggest cheater in the country. He maintains gaushalas and get benefits from the government, including vast land,” she says in a video that has gone viral.
She then recalls her visit to ISKCON’s Anantpur Gaushala in Andhra Pradesh, where she says she did not find a single cow that did not give milk or calves. “There wasn’t a dry cow in the entire dairy. There wasn’t a single calf. That means all of them were sold.”
A dry cow is a cow that has not been milked for some time.
“ISKCON sells all its cows to butchers. No one else does this as much as they do. And they go on singing ‘Hare Ram Hare Krishna’ on the roads. Then they say their whole life depends on milk. Probably, no one sold as many cattle to butchers as them,” she says.
Dismissing the allegations, ISKCON national spokesperson Yudhistir Govinda Das said the religious body was at the forefront of protection and care of cows and bulls, not only in India but across the world. “Cows and bulls are served throughout their lives and not sold to butchers as is claimed,” he explained.
ISKCON has been a pioneer in cow protection in many parts of the world where beef is a staple diet, said an ISKCON statement it shared. “Smt. Gandhi is a well-known animal rights activist and supporter of ISKCON, which is why we are surprised by these statements,” the statement said.
ISKCON, associated with the Hare Krishna movement, has hundreds of temples and millions of followers around the world.
ISKCON made headlines a few months ago after one of its monks criticized Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahansa. The religious body had immediately “banned” the Amogh monk Lila Das and sent him for reparation after his remarks sparked a major controversy.