breusch at breusch at
Thu May 4 00:20:05 UTC 1995

I was asked to forward the following message to your list. Thank you very much.

Dear Scholars,
I am a member of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard
University, and I am writing to plead for your help in stopping terrible
atrocities which are being committed against innocent persons in Armenia
who have chosen to follow the Vaisnava religious faith. I think the
accompanying report from Armenia is self-explanatory, and I urge you to
show that scholars are not only theoretical and detached, but are also
human and real.
My most earnest gratitude for your help.
Howard J. Resnick

Repression of Religious Freedom in Armenia.
Woman and Invalid Injured in Attack on Krishna Temple.
Hare Krishna followers in Armenia have been violently attacked for the
third time in six months.
The most recent attack, which took place on the 18th of April, destroyed
the Krishna temple in Yerevan and left twelve Krishna followers, including
one woman and an invalid requiring hospital treatment. Devotees are now in
hiding and in fear of further beatings.
The attack on the Hare Krishna community was the most brutal assault of
many assaults which have involved various minority religious organizations
in the last two weeks of April.
Marina Kutzian, senior lecturer in Sociology at Yerevan University has
stated, " I want to underline that in all of these cases one finds the same
handwriting. One or two cars with people in military uniform, at least some
of them in that kind of clothing, drive up to a place and attack people. No
reaction by the police."
"In the case of Hare Krishna, victims had bloody wounds, the temple was
destroyed, all property was stolen. According to my impression and informal
information which I was able to collect, a para-military group did this.
This para-military group was organized in Armenia before our national Army
was established."
"But after that, this group was not disorganized nor included in the
regular Army. So, on the one hand, it is not official, but on the other had
it is well known that they are supervised by government officials,
especially by the Minister of Defense. I have the very strong impression
that this group is now used by officials against their ideological
The Armenian daily newspaper "Golos Armenyi", wrote on 27th. April, "It
seems that in our society there is a group of absolutely defenseless
people, who can be constantly beaten and terrorized". Further on in his
report the journalist asserts, "In other words we are dealing with a case
of pre-planned and widespread assault [on various religions].
The Pentecostal, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, Bahai, and Charismatic
Churches were also attacked and harassed. Hallmark features of all the
attacks are:
The involvement of para-military forces.
The fact that the police ignore complaints and fail to offer any protection
to vulnerable communities.
The neglect of the Armenian Church to offer protection to minority
religions and their false accusations which lend sympathy to the
motivations of assailants.
The failure of the government to offer any security to minorities or to
apprehend or control attackers.
We appeal for your help. This barbarous campaign against legally registered
religions in Armenia must be stopped. Pressure and support from the
international community is the only approach that will make any impression
on events within Armenia. Please register your objection to these events by
contacting your local Armenian Embassy or Consulate. You could address your
objection to the Armenian President:
Mr. Levon Ter-Pertosian
President of Armenia
Fax: +7 (8852) 521581.
We would very much appreciate copies of any correspondence you have with
Armenian authorities on this issue. Copies may be sent to the address
The American Embassy in Yerevan have also compiled a background report on
the recent attacks. This is available by contacting the American Embassy
directly by Telephone at +7-8852-151144 and by Fax at +7-8852-151138.

ISKCON Report on the Attack:
On the 18th April, 1995 at 3PM (local time) twenty or twenty-five unknown
men stormed into the ISKCON (Hare Krishna) temple in Yerevan.
At the time of the attack seventeen people were present in the temple
(eleven males, four females and three children). The thugs were armed with
automatic weapons, submachine guns, guns, metal rods and metal chains. They
arrived at the temple in three cars with no registration plates.
The intruders immediately started to severely beat all the people present,
kicking them and hitting them with metal rods. After a short time the
ladies and children were thrown out of the house but the male members
continued to be beaten. Amongst those singled out for a more vicious
assault were one invalid and a Russian national.
As these assaults were taking place other members of this group were
destroying the temple. They desecrated and destroyed the altar, the
paraphernalia for worship, scriptures, paintings etc. All the windows and
household fixtures were also damaged.
The raid lasted about forty-five minutes and before they left the intruders
stole everything of value that they could find. Three thousand US dollars
in cash was stolen as were telephones, the fax machine, a computer,
printer, modem, a video-camera, two video recorders, foodstuff, a small
marble table and even pots from the kitchen. They robbed individuals'
passports, wristwatches and even whatever small change they found in the
pockets of their victims. They also tried to steal a car outside the temple
but failing to do so they siphoned the petrol from it instead.
The police were alerted several times by various people but, although they
said that they would come no one arrived. In an effort to appeal for help
one Hare Krishna member, covered in blood, went to the police station, but
his petitions were ignored, except for one policeman who commented that
this happened because the Hare Krishna members were deviating from the
national tradition.
Shortly after this incident a well-dressed man walked into the temple and
announced that this attack happened because the Hare Krishna followers did
not adhere to the national Church. He then left in a Russian made Volga car
without registration plates.
Most of the people beaten were severely injured and had to receive hospital
treatment. All of the male members sustained head injuries.
For further information and updates on this campaign please contact ISKCON
Communications Europe:
premarnava.hks at
6 Quarry Court, Helen's Bay, Co. Down
BT19 1TY, Northern Ireland
Tel/Fax: +44-1247-852796

The following files are available for the asking. You may contact
breusch at to have a (some) file(s) sent to your e-mail
[1] History of the Armenian situation up to April 1995.
[2] A presentation document to introduce the issue.
[3] Translation of an Armenian news report.
[4] The Henderson report on attacks on Christian Churches.
[5] Report by Armenian Sociologist.


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