Religious freedom in Kazakhstan: land plot commandeered from Krishna believers in Almaty
The Karasai District Court of the Alma-Ata region ruled to confiscate 50 hectares of land where Krishna believers had lived and earned their bread until now. The largest community of Krishna believers in Central Asia is without homes now as the land is to be turned over to the district administration.
"We farmed here. Fifty families used to live here," Press Secretary Maxim Varfolomeyev told Ferghana.Ru. "We cannot even take whatever belongs to us - the court banned it. We are compelled to leave everything including our homes. Without a recompense or anything, of course."
Krishna followers established their sect in Alma-Ata in 1996. The community obtained official registration from the republican Justice Ministry. It bought almost 50 hectares of land in the Karasai district in 1999 and farmed the plot until the initial purchase of the land in question was invalidated.
Society of Krishna Followers' press release indicates that the period when acquisition of the land could be challenged by the law ended three years ago. It did not stop the Karasai District Court.
"This is a gross violation of the rights of religious minorities," the press release stated. Confiscation of the land may lead to disintegration of the largest community of Krishna believers in Central Asia.