Union Ministers, Meenakshi Lekhi and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, on Sunday flagged off ISKCON's Shri Ram Padyatra from Delhi to Ayodhya.
A significant controversy has ignited following remarks made by BJP MP and former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi regarding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), where she labeled it as the “biggest cheat in the country” and accused it of selling cows from its gaushalas (cow shelters) to butchers. ISKCON has vehemently denied these allegations.
In a widely circulated video, Maneka Gandhi, a prominent animal rights activist, can be heard making the contentious statements. She claimed, “ISKCON is the biggest cheat in the country. It maintains gaushalas and receives benefits from the government, including vast lands.”
Maneka also recounted her visit to ISKCON’s Anantpur Gaushala in Andhra Pradesh, where she alleged that she could not find any cow that does not produce milk or calves. In the video, she asserted, “There was no dry cow in the entire dairy. Not a single calf was there. It means all were sold.”
Furthermore, she alleged, “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.”
However, ISKCON categorically rejected Maneka’s accusations. The national spokesperson for ISKCON, Yudhistir Govinda Das, took to the social media platform X to share a statement in response, stating, “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.”
The statement provided by ISKCON emphasized their commitment to cow protection and care, not only within India but also around the world. They mentioned that many cows sheltered in ISKCON’s gaushalas were rescued after being found abandoned, injured, or saved from slaughter.
Furthermore, ISKCON revealed their recent initiatives to educate farmers and rural households on proper cow care techniques, with the aim of reviving the tradition of cow worship and care.
The statement stated, “Several ISKCON gaushalas are recognized and lauded for their high cow-care standards by the Government or association of gaushalas.”
Expressing surprise over Maneka Gandhi’s allegations, ISKCON pointed to local official documents that they believe would shed light on the true situation.
In response to these developments, Radharamn Das, vice president and spokesperson for ISKCON Kolkata, issued a tweet stating that they would pursue legal action if Maneka Gandhi did not apologize for her incorrect statements.