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Hindu centre faces eviction in Putin's hometown

Russia's biggest Vedic culture centre boasting the largest Hindu temple in the region is facing eviction in a property dispute in St Petersburg, the hometown of Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2012 18:15 IST

Russia's biggest Vedic culture centre boasting the largest Hindu temple in the region is facing eviction in a property dispute in St Petersburg, the hometown of Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin.

The owners of the eight storey building who had leased it for 49-years to local Centre for Spiritual Development -"Another World" -- want to terminate the deal and have managed to seek court's order for its eviction for allegedly violating the fire safety rules.

However, the upper court of arbitration has stayed the eviction till March 29 on the appeal of the centre.

Chairman of the Centre Suren Karapetyan insisted that the Vedic culture centre involved in promoting the ancient Indian traditions including Sanskrit and Yoga studies among the local followers of Hinduism, had not violated fire safety rules at any point of the 49-year lease.

"We are talking about the threat of destruction of one of the largest Hindu Temple and the most unique cultural project, promoting Indian culture in Russia - St Petersburg," Karapetyan said.

Karapetyan said at the time of lease the building was nothing, but a block of bricks and the devotees had completed its construction by collecting USD 1 million donation and through 'shramdaan' (voluntary labour).

Lease deal was signed in 1992 between the state-run federal research institute, now converted into into JSC "GosNIIkhimanalit" Joint Stock Company.

"This could be the part of the anti-Hindu campaign by a section of Russian Orthodox Christian Church zealots, after their demand to seek the ban on the Bhagwad Gita, otherwise I don't understand the move for premature termination of the lease," Karapetyan said over phone.