Sunday, 26 February 2017

Responses to allegations against Isha Foundation

Responses to allegations against Isha Foundation


For 130 years, the area around Isha Foundation has been revenue lands. This means the government has been deriving revenue from it, from the legal owners. If the land has been maintained as a revenue land, how can it suddenly become an elephant corridor?
   
Every time a Hindu organization has a big event, there will be a bunch of protests organized against it. Such protests are usually carried out by the communists & leftists as the pawns and stealthily directed by other vested interests who function dedicatedly to malign Hindu organization, Hindu culture and Hindu interests.

In spite of generally abiding by all the laws, an image is created as though Hindu organizations and Hindu religious heads are criminals out to cheat the public. Hindus should be aware of the intention behind such protests and stand up to protect the Hindu organizations.

A few days ago, some vested interest groups filed petitions making baseless allegations about the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. This is a response to these frivolous claims. The final report filed by the district authorities reiterated the truth that there was no violation observed at the Mahashivratri celebrations. The same was also reported in dailies like Times of India dated 12.03.2013.
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A few days ago, some vested interest groups filed petitions making baseless allegations about the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. We would like to place on record that Isha Foundation carries out all its activities within the purview of the law.

The accusations laid down in the petitions filed against Isha Foundation in the Madras High Court are frivolous and a compilation of twisted allegations. We would like to clarify that it is a 112-feet statue of Adiyogi Shiva (the Source of Yoga). The petitioner, incited by vested interest groups, is willfully trying to create a sensation by misrepresenting facts.

We have obtained the approval of the necessary authorities, including the District Collector, Coimbatore, the Forest Department and BSNL. A structural stability certificate from a government certified engineer has also been obtained for the 112-ft Adiyogi statue. A “No Objection Certificate” from the District Collector, Coimbatore for using wetlands for non-agricultural purposes has also been obtained. So the question of violation does not even arise.

These vested interest groups have been working actively to stop Mahashivratri celebrations. Even in 2013, a group has brought in a petition to stay Mahashivratri celebrations at Isha. The High Court then ordered the district authorities to file a report on the impact of Mahashivratri celebrations on ecology. Upon this directive, a team of district officials led by the Revenue Divisional Officer were present at the Mahashivratri venue to inspect various parameters and its impact on the ecology. The final report filed by the district authorities reiterated the truth that there was no violation observed at the Mahashivratri celebrations. The same was also reported in dailies like Times of India dated 12.03.2013.

Isha has been working continuously to protect the environment through Project GreenHands which was founded under the aegis of Isha Foundation, and has facilitated the planting of over 30 million saplings. Isha has been involved in preserving the ecology of the mountains by planting saplings and cleaning the mountains regularly. In fact, the lands in which Isha Foundation functions had very few trees in the beginning; the trees in and around Isha Yoga Center have been planted by the volunteers of Isha Yoga Center. Reports from the Forest officials have also reiterated the same.
In Isha, Mahashivratri has been celebrated every year for the past several decades with adequate efforts undertaken to avoid any disturbance to the ecology. This festival is also celebrated in several places across Tamil Nadu and India without causing any damage to the environment and ecology. These vested interest groups are trying to exploit these ancient festivals time and again to gain cheap publicity and sow discord.


Permission Letter from the District Collector for Adiyogi Statue




Further clarifications in the media

Isha Foundation, on Wednesday, has clarified that allegations of illegally acquiring land in Coimbatore were false and baseless. The Foundation was responding to an article, “Allegation of encroachment against Isha Foundation,” published on October 25 (in the Hindu), based on a press statement issued by P. Shanmugham, General Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association. “It is highly defamatory to state that Isha had purchased lands from landless poor who got assignment out of the surplus lands measuring 44 acres,” it said.

The Foundation stated that it has never acquired land assigned to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or the poor. It went on to state that Mr. Shanmugham was wrong in representing the 44 acres as a single parcel of land; 37 acres are located in a separate part of Ikkarai Boluvampatti village in Coimbatore.

“An extent of 7.00 acres is located abutting Isha lands which were allotted to nine individual allottees, the individual persons appear to have purchased measuring 7.00 acres and the list of purchasers is also annexed (to the statement),” said Isha.

The Foundation said that only seven of the said 44 acres were situatated abutting its patta land. The association was trying to mislead the public by falsely stating that an extent of 44.30 acres was acquired by Isha,” the statement added.

Isha Foundation, however, said vested interests were trying to disrupt the event.

“We have got all the necessary permissions from the authorised people. These are some vested interests who are trying to create a ruckus to disrupt a major event like this,” said a public relations executive from Isha Foundation.

In a statement, it also said that “a no objection certificate from the district collector, Coimbatore, for using wetlands for non-agricultural purposes has also been obtained”, besides approvals from necessary authorities, including the Coimbatore district collector, the forest department and BSNL.
Statements on Land Encroachment & other Allegations

Below, we list the allegations made against Isha regarding forest land and elephant corridors and offer our readers the truth behind them.

Allegation 1: Isha Foundation has encroached on forest land and is located in the elephant corridor, with reports that three structures are constructed illegally, without proper permission from the authorities, including forest department.

Response: Isha Yoga Center is not constructed on forest land or elephant corridor. It is constructed on 100% Patta land. In 2013, Tamil Nadu Forest Department officials verified this, and clearly documented that the center is only on Patta land and has not infringed onto forest land. The document reference number is CFCIT/07/2013.

By definition, an elephant corridor is a pathway between two places where the elephants reside. The forests departments of the central and state governments have identified 88 elephant corridors, and Isha Yoga Center is not on any of them.

Allegation 2
: Reports that officials are reluctant to raze these structures, which were ordered to be demolished some three years ago.

Response: As mentioned above, Isha Yoga Center is built on 100% Patta land, and does not encroach on any other land. So the question of razing any structures is irrelevant.








Other Allegations

High Court Ends Controversy: Rules in Favor of Isha Yoga Center

The Madras High Court on August 12 ruled in favor of Isha Foundation in the Habeas Corpus plea, striking down the false allegations targeted at the foundation.

The Madras High Court on August 12th ruled in favor of Isha Foundation in the Habeas Corpus plea moved by Sathyajothi, stating that there was no truth in
Sathyajothi’s allegations that her two daughters – Maa Mathi and Maa Maayu – were being “brainwashed and held captive” at the Isha Yoga Center.

Court Ruling Ends Controversy

The Division Bench of Justices S. Nagamuthu and V. Bharathidasan dismissed the plea after examining the report of the Principal District Judge (PDJ), who had visited the Isha Yoga Center on August 10, to interview Maa Mathi and Maa Maayu. The Bench noted that the PDJ, “has categorically mentioned in his report that there is no truth in the allegation, and that the detenues are staying at the Foundation on their own will.” Striking down the baseless allegations made against the foundation, the bench said, “Prima facie, we are satisfied that they are staying on their own wish”. The Bench, after listening to the counsel of Isha Foundation, permitted the parents to continue visiting their daughters, as they have been doing in the past, with prior intimation.

Isha Foundation would like to thank the Madras High Court for upholding the truth, and for having brought the issue to a close, as some miscreants were misleading society and the public with a campaign of lies against Isha Foundation.


The Isha Yoga Center is Open to All

Isha Foundation is an open-to-all organization that promotes equality and openness. The foundation realizes that parents may have an emotional attachment towards their children. Therefore, it has never discouraged parents from visiting their children who reside at the Isha Yoga Center and also participating in foundation activities. Everyone is welcome to visit the center and benefit from the space. Several lakhs of people from various countries and states in India visit the center every year. No one has ever been compelled to stay against their will.

The Isha Yoga Programs are also open to all, irrespective of caste, religion, nationality or social background. Besides being offered in India, they are also available in the United States, UK, Singapore, Australia, Lebanon, China, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. They are offered in both rural and urban areas, and are attended by people from various social backgrounds and communities, including farmers, students, celebrities, businessmen and public officials.

Isha Foundation: Working for the Wellbeing of All

Isha Foundation has been working for over three decades to bring harmony, wellbeing and progress to all. Through powerful programs for inner transformation and award-winning projects for society and environment, the foundation is working towards creating an inclusive culture that addresses all aspects of human wellbeing. The foundation’s social outreach activities include: Project GreenHands, which has facilitated the planting of over 28 million trees; Isha Vidhya and the Government School Adoption Program which benefit 79,000 rural schoolchildren in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh; and Action for Rural Rejuvenation, which has worked in over 4600 villages providing free healthcare and community-building support to 7 million beneficiaries. Additionally, Isha’s efforts on International Yoga Day are bringing the benefits of yoga to over 20 million children in 35,000 schools across India.


2 comments:

  1. You can be sure that the same accusation business will start for the next major event at Isha.

    ReplyDelete