Yoga Guru Grabs Land Of Poor
This is pretty shocking going even by usual Hindu standards.

Yoga Guru Grabs Land Of Poor

Satyam Yogi, a wealthy and powerful yoga guru with an international following, is accused of grabbing land from poor Dalit communities.

Ajeet Bahadur, our correspondent from Allahabad, faced serious threats as he investigated this story of the misdeeds of the Kriyayoga Research Institute, an ashram near the holy site of the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious gathering. Ajeet is an activist, himself from an underprivileged community, who fights for the rights of horse cart and rickshaw drivers, daily wage earners and trafficking victims. He has been following this land grab story since 1996, when he participated in a protest rally of poor potato farmers, some of whom told him that their land was being stolen by a guru who had started building a center in their area. In September 2010 Ajeet met those farmers again and learnt that in the past 10 years Satyam Yogi has grabbed land from at least 10 dalit and minority families, on which he has built wedding and party venues, lodges and a healing center.

While shooting the video, Ajeet first tried to speak to Satyam Yogi, the ashram leader, but was denied an interview. As he left the yoga center, the armed guards at the center threatened Ajeet, saying, “People in this country disappear every day. Tomorrow it could be you.” Later, four of these same guards followed Ajeet in a car around the locality all through his shooting But despite these direct and indirect threats, Ajeet was determined to complete his video. He says there is a small risk he may be targeted by Satyam Yogi’s hired gunmen after the publication of this video, but he is willing to take this risk and has been talking to people in the VV head office about how to handle this danger.

So why was it so important for Ajeet to tell this story, even if it meant risking his life? Because the people in his video are poor and very vulnerable, especially against the power and influence of Satyam Yogi who has connections all over the world. He has a center in Ontario, Canada, which is called Kriyayoga Fellowship Temple, and according to his website, he regularly visits his followers in the US and Australia, giving discourses on yoga. Says Ajeet, “Satyam Yogi pretends to be a spiritual leader who enlightens people. But in reality he is nothing but a mafia that steals poor people’s land.”

In 2009, after the farmers filed a case against Satyam yogi, a local court ordered demolition and sealing of several structures within the yoga center. But, rather than following the order, the yogi’s armed guards instead threatened those Dalit farmers who haven’t given up their land yet. The yogi continues to use those buildings, and the Dalits, afraid of the guns of his goons, remain silent. Only outside pressure, Ajeet feels, will cause movement in this case. To all the viewers of his video, Ajeet says “The government here needs to be put under pressure to take action against Satyam Yogi. So, wherever you are, please write to the government of Uttar Pradesh and ask it to stop the land grab.“


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