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Tue May 11, 2021, 12:32 PM

Hindu Sect Is Accused of Using Forced Labor to Build N.J. Temple

Source: New York Times




Federal law enforcement agents descended on a massive temple in New Jersey on Tuesday after workers accused a prominent Hindu sect of luring them from India, confining them to the temple grounds and paying them the equivalent of about $1 an hour to perform grueling labor in near servitude. In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, lawyers for the laborers said Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a Hindu sect known as BAPS that has close ties to India’s ruling party and has built temples around the world, had exploited possibly hundreds of low-caste men in the yearslong construction project.

A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. confirmed agents were on the grounds of the temple in rural Robbinsville, N.J., but would not comment further. The action is believed to be connected to the claims of labor and immigration law violations, according to several people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. The workers, who lived in trailers hidden from view, had been promised jobs helping to build the temple with standard work hours and ample time off, according to the lawsuit, a wage claim filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. The majority are Dalit, the lowest rung in India’s caste system.

They were brought to the United States on religious visas, or R-1 visas — temporary visas used for clergy and lay religious workers such as missionaries — and presented to the U.S. government as volunteers, according to the claim. They were asked to sign several documents, often in English, and instructed to tell U.S. embassy staffers that they were skilled carvers or decorative painters, the complaint said. Lawyers for the men, however, said they did manual labor on the site, working nearly 13 hours a day lifting large stones, operating cranes and other heavy machinery, building roads and storm sewers, digging ditches and shoveling snow, all for the equivalent of about $450 per month.

“I respectfully disagree with the wage claim,” Kanu Patel, the chief executive of BAPS, told The New York Times, while noting he was not in charge of day-to-day operations at the site. Lenin Joshi, a spokesman for BAPS, also disputed the accusations, saying the men did complicated work connecting stones that had been hand-carved in India. “They have to be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. In that process, we need specialized artisans,” Mr. Joshi said, saying this work qualified the men for the visas. “We are naturally shaken by this turn of events and are sure that once the full facts come out, we will be able to provide answers and show that these accusations and allegations are without merit,” Mr. Joshi said.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/nyregion/nj-hindu-temple-india-baps.html





I expect this sort of thing "common" although it usually happens with immigrants from Central America - I recall a recent case in Florida. One of the older Florida cases is here - https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/1997/November97/482cr.htm.html

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Reply Hindu Sect Is Accused of Using Forced Labor to Build N.J. Temple (Original post)
BumRushDaShow May 11 OP
Dawson Leery May 11 #1
dalton99a May 11 #2
SWBTATTReg May 11 #3
malaise May 11 #4
Hekate May 11 #5
BumRushDaShow May 11 #6
malaise May 11 #7
BumRushDaShow May 11 #8
bucolic_frolic May 11 #9
abqtommy May 11 #10

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 12:46 PM

1. Religion needs to pay taxes.

No more free rides.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 12:55 PM

2. Deport the people behind this criminal abuse.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 01:05 PM

3. Kind of like my catholic neighbor being forced to volunteer a certain number of hours a week to

get schooling for her 3 kids, by participating in raising funds for the church by making and selling cakes etc. (she otherwise couldn't afford it, and would have to send her kids to the normal 'public' schools)?

One of my neighbors just moved from the city of STLMO to the county so her two young boys can attend school in a better school district, she couldn't afford the tuition of a private school (catholic or otherwise) so she moved away from the city.

Over the 40 years I lived in STLMO, this was a common occurrence, that when the young children got old enough to go to school, the young couple would sell their STLMO home and move away (to where a better school district was, where the overall cost was still 'reasonable'). Apparently tuition at a catholic school has gone up thought the roof, for when I first moved into STLMO, there were literally thousands of young kids dressed up in their uniforms, walking to catholic school (compared to now, very low numbers), and now you don't really see many such students. I do know that the church has closed facilities because of the cost of keeping such places open, even the church has faced increasing costs in running things.

I do somewhat understand when parents are unable to afford private schooling and tuition for kids that they'll jump through hoops and such to get their kids into 'better' schools but when there are public schools available (they are already paying for via real estate taxes), and the majority of kids go to a public school, well, that's fine, IMHO. If anything, people need to concentrate on making the public schools better instead of fleeing the public school system, stay and help fix their own school systems. This is my only gripe about this whole thing. If you have an issue, then help fix the problem, don't run away.

Now the parents may wish to continue their kids indoctrination into their religious beliefs/work ethics, that's their right of course. It's just that I've seen them sell their home and move away (to a better school system), instead of resolving the issue(s) and the problem(s) seem to drag on and on even more so/more longer then if more resources were available to deal w/ issues.




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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 01:34 PM

4. South Asian Indians have been involved in slave labor for eons

There have been several criminal cases over the years - there was a major scandal with a restaurant in California some years ago.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Tue May 11, 2021, 02:25 PM

5. Yes -- it was not our invention. But it is an age-old human disease that needs eradication.

I hope the law comes down on these SOBs like a ton of intricately carved masonry.



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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Tue May 11, 2021, 03:27 PM

6. Waving hi

Don't see you over here much.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #6)

Tue May 11, 2021, 04:02 PM

7. Ha

GD lady

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Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Tue May 11, 2021, 04:05 PM

8. Yup!!

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 04:32 PM

9. Proof that property is theft. /nt

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Tue May 11, 2021, 04:42 PM

10. Not all religionists are corrupt. Some haven't been born yet and some are dead.

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