In a scathing critique of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), BJP MP Maneka Gandhi claimed that the organization is the largest deceiver in the country, accusing it of selling cows from its gaushalas (cowsheds) to butchers. ISKCON, the most prominent Krishna sect globally, has vehemently denied these allegations, labeling them as baseless and untrue.
Ms. Gandhi, a former union minister and a passionate advocate for animal rights, is known for her outspoken presence on social media, particularly when it comes to matters concerning the well-being of animals.
"ISKCON is the biggest cheat in the country. It maintains gaushalas and get benefits from the government, including vast lands."
During her visit to ISKCON's Anantpur Gaushala in Andhra Pradesh, she vividly remembers that she couldn't come across a single cow that didn't produce milk or calves.
"ISKCON is selling all its cows to the butchers. No one else does this as much they do. And they go on 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 alleges.
Disputing the accusations, ISKCON's national spokesperson, Yudhistir Govinda Das, emphasized that the religious organization has consistently taken a leading role in the protection and welfare of cows and bulls, not only within India but on a global scale.
Response to the unsubstantiated and false statements of Smt Maneka Gandhi.— Yudhistir Govinda Das (@yudhistirGD) September 26, 2023
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. pic.twitter.com/GRLAe5B2n6
"The cows and bulls are served for their life not sold to butchers as alleged," he said.
"Smt. Gandhi is a well-known animal rights activist and well-wisher of ISKCON hence we are surprised by these statements," said the statement.
The ISKCON, linked to the Hare Krishna movement, boasts hundreds of temples and a vast following of devotees worldwide.
In recent headlines a few months back, the ISKCON made news when one of its monks criticized Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahansa. In response to the ensuing controversy sparked by his comments, the religious organization swiftly took action by "banning" the monk Amogh Lila Das and sending him for atonement.