Christian Reddy’s Govt. Attacks ISKCON’s Akshaya Patra: Fact Check


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Image about Christian Reddy's Govt. Attacks ISKCON's Akshaya Patra
Christian Reddy's Govt. Attacks ISKCON's Akshaya Patra

Story:

In Andhra Pradesh, Christian Reddy’s Govt. Attacks ISKCON Temple’s mid-day meal programme Akshaya Patra. Seizes rice devotees donated for prasadam claiming it was “diverted.”

Other Versions

Christian Reddy’s govt starts all-out attack on ISKCON and #AkshayPatra, seizes rice donated by devotees for prasadam, claims it was “diverted.”
Akshay Patra seems to be really upsetting conversion mafia.

Fact Check:

Some messages doing rounds on social media allege the Christian Reddy’s Govt. in Andhra Pradesh Attacks the ISKCON Temple’s mid-day meal programme Akshaya Patra. The allegations surfaced after Government officials seized tons of rice claiming it was “diverted.” So, let us examine the allegations and details of the actual incident.

About Akshaya Patra and Midday Meal Scheme

Akshaya Patra is an initiative of ISKCON Bangalore to provide mid-day meals in the rural schools for the underprivileged children in order to support their education. The Government of India runs a Midday Meal Scheme to better the nutritional standing of school-age children across the country. Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of the many NGOs providing the mid-day meals in partnership with Central and various State Governments of India.

The claim in question became popular online after Sankrant Sanu, an Author and Entrepreneur in Gurgaon tweeted about it citing the seizure of mid-day meal rice from ISKCON premises. Allegedly, the seizure is how the Christian Govt. of Jaganmohan Reddy Attacks ISKCON NGO’s Akshaya Patra.

Image about Christian Reddy's Government Attacks ISKCON's Akshaya Patra

About the Surprise Check and Seizure at ISKCON Premises

On 17th of June 2019, acting on information about alleged diversion of rice, a team of officials from the Andhra Pradesh State Vigilance and Enforcement, and Civil Supplies Departments raided the ISKCON premises at Sagar Nagar, Visakhapatnam. They seized 396 bags of rice weighing around 19.8 tons allegedly after they found laborers loading rice bags to a lorry. According to Vigilance Inspector Mallikarjuna Rao, during the inquiry, the lorry owner and his aide said that the mid-day meal rice was being packaged and the stock was supposed to be shifted to Kakinada. DSP and in-charge RVEO (Visakhapatnam) K. Sravani told the rice was being shifted from gunny bags issued by Civil Supplies Department to plastic bags.

The officials said ISKCON has not maintained the stock register after March 2019 and the Education Department officials have also not inspected the stock after February. Moreover, Vigilance officials suspected Shyam Sundar Priya Das, a priest of ISKCON to be diverting the rice issued by the government. Consequently, the officials registered a case under Essential Commodities Act 1955.

Response from ISKCON Officials

In the light of the seizure, ISKCON officials refuted the allegations of diverting the mid-day meal rice. On the contrary, they said devotees donated the seized stock and they exchange it for better quality of rice for preparing ‘prasadam’. President of ISKCON, Visakhapatnam, Samba Das said their former manager, removed for misbehaving with women, gave false information to the vigilance officials about diversion of mid-day meal rice. They also said ISKCON has all the receipts and the officers checked them.

Later, Vigilance officials said ISKCON gets donations through cash and cheques from donors; not in the form of rice bags. They also insist definite involvement of ISKCON people in the rice scam. They say the plan was to export the rice to foreign countries as some rice bags carried prints of French words. The Vigilance officials are in fact waiting for district collector Vinay Chand’s nod to register criminal cases against ISKCON authorities.

Political and Religious Motive?

Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the founder of YSR Congress Party, became the new Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in May 2019. Like his father Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and grandfather Y. S. Raja Reddy, Jaganmohan Reddy is also an adherent of Christianity. During his father’s rule as Chief Minister in united Andhra Pradesh, Christian evangelical activities increased. There’s widespread belief mass conversions also took place in rural areas. So, Jaganmohan Reddy also faces similar allegations of Church activities.

Image of Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy getting blessings in a Church
Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy getting blessings in a Church

Coming back to the case, there are some political changes after the alleged mid-day meal rice scam . An all-party round table meet on the issue demanded the government should cancel their agreement with ISKCON. They said the organization has been taking contracts from Government and committing irregularities. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions CITU also demanded same, asking for CBI probe. But interestingly, there are no video news reports on the incident. Few such incidents in fact took place in past, where people from Government schools and NGOs sold the mid-day meal rice in market. However, details of this case are not entirely clear as of this writing and further investigation might go on.

So, at this point of time, it is difficult to say whether or not Christian Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy’s Govt. attacks the NGO charity programme of ISKCON.

Hoax or Fact:

Undetermined.

References:

19.8 tonnes mid-day meal rice seized from ISKCON premises
Vigilance officials seize 1,200 bags of MDM rice at Iskcon
Raid on Vizag ISKCON office unearths mid-day meal rice diversion


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