By Gina Catena
ABC’s KTVO-TV in Iowa March 11, 2014 reported on a “Pandit Riot” that took place at the gate to Vedic City’s pandit compound after TM officials arrived with sheriff support at 0600. They planned to remove one of the compound’s leaders for unspecified disciplinary action and possible return to India.
According to the televised report, dozens of the Indian men who receive $50 monthly stipend (with $150 presumably sent to families in India) surrounded the sheriff’s vehicle, threw rocks and broke a squad car light. The sheriff called for other law reinforcements from Wapello County for support.
The Global Country of World Peace or Vedic City authorities must have suspected some unrest to justify requesting sheriff support to escort this pandit leader away.
The pandits protested their leader’s departure. Law enforcement officials could not understand words that were shouted in Hindi. News reports do not mention any attempt by law enforcement to understand the pandits.
News reports do not address (lack of) a Hindi interpreter. There is no mention if the shouting men were later provided an objective interpreter or offered impartial legal representation.
Credit goes to the sheriff who avoided escalating an altercation by successfully backing his vehicle away through the unarmed crowd. The sheriff’s office did not press charges since no one knows who assaulted the vehicle. Vedic City agreed to cover costs for the sheriff’s auto repairs.
The sheriff expressed incredulity that these men “held no respect for the law” when they mobbed his vehicle.
The pandits were escorted back inside their square mile of fenced compound.
TMFree previously posted concerns about the pandits’ captivity in a previous three part series that can be read by clicking here.
The recent “riot” might be a desperate attempt by these caged men to communicate to the outside world.
One woman interviewed for the televised report stated that these pandits WANT to stay impounded together, rather than return to their family squalor in India. However, if the pandits want to stay impounded, why did 163 of them escape within the last year? Their absence was not reported by the sponsoring TM organization that holds their passports.
Al Jazeera’s review of January 27, 2104 “Indian Vedic students go ‘missing’ in the US” can be read by clicking here.
Vedi City’s pandit situation resembles this animated United Nations’ video about modern human slavery.
These young pandits receive slave wages of room and board plus $50 / month. $150 per pandit is supposedly sent to their families in India. They may spend their $50 at small store in their compound. They rarely leave the compound. Their “job” is to inspire donations from TM True Believers for mystical chants that TM leaders promise will assure good weather, economic prosperity and world peace. For video clips, click here.
If these men want greater rights, they could be desperate enough to vie for attention from law enforcement.
Raja John Hagelin, Maharishi’s Raja of North America (aka Dr. John Hagelin in the films “What the Bleep Do We Know” and “The Secret”) Bill Goldstein, spokesman of The Global Country of World Peace, and John Revolinski, an administrator for the pandit campus, said the majority of these pandits began living in TM’s pandit compounds as children. This sounds suspiciously like child trafficking. See “Students inquire about pandits during forum” by clicking here.
Revolinski referred to the pandits’ group dynamics. He did not discuss the group dynamics of the larger community which colluded to keep these men inside a fenced compound.
Some reports state the pandits have R-1 Visas. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web Site defines R-1 visas here. A key excerpt below:
“An R-1 is a foreign national who is coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at least part time (average of at least 20 hours per week) by a non-profit religious organization in the United States (or an organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States) to work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation…To qualify, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of the petition.”
Forgive our confusion. For decades the TM Movement stated they are a non-religious organization. The TM Movement used this non-religious argument to infiltrate public schools and the American Veteran’s administration through the David Lynch Foundation.
Yet, the pandits received visas to work for an “organization which is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.”
TMFree addressed religious aspects of TM many times, for example “Is it a religion, or a dessert topping?” and “Still “not a religion”: Video of puja, the religious ritual central to TM Initiation”.
Vedic City issued a TM-speak statement on March 11, 2014 which can be read here, and stated that :
“A very harmonious meeting was held with the entire Pandit group immediately after the incident to discuss what transpired. An internal review of the situation is being conducted with an aim to avoid any such repeat incidents in the future.”
No investigator had contact with the pandits. Will an outsider speak directly to these men?
How can law enforcement assist the containment of voiceless innocents inside an isolated compound?
Some reports said these men were promised an education and job training. Does chanting for a net of $50 monthly equal a career?
Pandits are human beings whose concerns should be heard. These are not the mute Orca whales whose captivity in San Diego SeaWorld garners press attention through animal activists.
An objective legal investigation into this should be initiated by people outside of Jefferson County, Iowa. Authorities of southeast Iowa already demonstrated both lack of objectivity and collusion with Vedic City through seven years of silence about these men confined to one square mile in a cornfield.
The pandits may have learned that drama attracts attention after fire fighters responded to a small fire in a pandit mobile home on November 8 2013, as reported here.
Another fire on March 3, 2014 was reported here.
If these men are desperately calling for help, they might be succeeding.