In Defense of Jitarati
BY: SUN EDITORS
Jun 11, 2012 CANADA (SUN) Devaki nandana das and Jitarati das respond to the Sun, in defense of Jitarati.
A number of Sun readers have written to call to our attention an article appearing on various Ritvik websites, written by Devaki nandana das of Hong Kong, and entitled, "Reply To Rocana das's Obnoxious Article". Devaki nandana das, like his friend and associate, Jitarati das, are complaining vigorously about the recent Sun article, "Hare Krishna Society and the Company They Keep".
We have declined to publish Devaki nandana's article for reasons explained below, in the excerpts from our letter of response to prabhu:
"You say it is Shyamasundara [the Australian] who is Sakshi Gopal's close associate -- not Jitarati. You offer three BIF webpage links that supposedly support your claim, but we find no mention of Shyamasundara anywhere. So while there is ample evidence of Jitarati's association with Sakshi, we have no such evidence that Shyamasundara was instead his 'right hand man'. Where are archival footprints establishing the close relationship between Shyamasundara/Sakshi? Such footprints are there for Jitarati/Sakshi.
Furthermore, we never said Jitarati had anything to do with Sakshi writing his recent blasphemous articles. We're saying that Jitarati has in the past, been Sakshi's close associate. History proves that. Shyamasundara's comment was that Jitarati has been Sakshi's right hand man, has handled BIF correspondence, and has made a statement defending Sakshi's writings. That's not the same as saying he participated in writing the material. But Shyamasundara does use present tense language -- indicating that Jitarati is still aiding and abetting Sakshi. Both you and and Jitarati claim that is no longer the case, but there has been no public declaration by Jitarati to that effect. Such a statement of disassociation should come from him, not from you.
If Jitarati wants to make a public declaration about what he has and has not done, let him do so. There's no reason for it to come from you, a third party. You are not authorized to speak on his behalf. And even if you were, we would expect him to make his own declaration of disassociation from Sakshi. And we think he should do so -- telling all the devotees the circumstances that led to his departure from Sakshi's camp. BIF has been a very public figure in ISKCON and in the poison area. For Sakshi to have gone totally off track, become a great blasphemer, and for Jitarati not to have publicly disassociated from him, with full explanation of the details is, to our mind, an unfortunate mistake. Unless he does so, it will be quite natural for the community of devotees to assume that he's still associated, and still supports Sakshi.
You say it was you, Jitarati and a few other devotees who submitted the original article to us denouncing Sakshi and BIF as blasphemers. If that's true, we're glad to hear it -- but it doesn't serve the purpose mentioned above -- it doesn't solve the absence of Jitarati's public statement of disassociation from Sakshi. We are willing to set the record straight, however, and note who the personalities are behind that article. Please send us a copy of the original article with full headers (we still have our copy) as proof that you are one of the original submitters, and tell us who the co-authors were, and we'll publish that information. But don't blame us because you chose to submit it anonymously, therefore to this day there are questions about Jitarati's association with Sakshi. That's not our fault, or our problem. It's Jitarati's. You ranting at us about going to hell and the Yamaduttas doesn't change anything -- it only means we won't publish your rant-like article.
And for the record, the Sun does not broadly reject articles written by Rtviks. We reject Rtvik propaganda articles that don't meet publication guidelines. We reject nonsense rants. But we don't simply reject Rtvik articles, as evidenced by the many, many articles published in the Sun that are written by Rtviks.
I won't respond to the rest of your rant, nor will we take the contents of your article seriously as they stand. If you want to make a convincing presentation, please provide solid evidence that Shyamasundara has been and/or is currently involved with Sakshi Gopal and his new BIF. Give us published material that can be confirmed as having pre-existed on the web -- not something that could have been posted yesterday and back-dated. If you're citing web references that are bona fide historical footprints, they'll be logged into the Wayback machine, for confirmation.
Otherwise, we find nothing to support your claims, and you have provided nothing except correspondence that is itself very unconvincing. The emails don't have full headers, the fonts don't match the flow of what is supposedly original/quoted vs. response material, thus the likelihood that the material is contrived seems quite high. That the material is presented to us in the context of your rant email only increases that likelihood.
[NOTE: Prabhupadanuga.eu omitted these pieces of correspondence from their version of Devaki nandana das's article, which lends a further note of questionability to the whole affair.]
…So Devaki nandana das, if you want to publish something in the Sun in support of Jitarati, please deliver it with proper citations, proper support documents, and without all the histrionic rhetoric. Then we'll consider publishing it."
Like Devaki nandana das, Jitarati das has responded in anger to the Sun article on the Hare Krishna Society's bad association. Jitarati claims that the article is "a complete lie", referring specifically to Shyamasundara dasa's remarks about Jitarati coming to Saski Gopal's defense, and his association with Saksi. While Jitarati didn't ask to have his letters published, the reader might be interested in excerpts of our response to his claims that the Sun is 'lying about him' by publishing Shyamasundara dasa's article:
"There is ample evidence of your association with Sakshi Gopal and BIF, so surely you don't object to those statements. As for Shyamashundara's report of your statement in defense of Sakshi, it's word-against-word. If you believe that's a lie, please make your case." [ ]
"You go on to say that Shyamashundara "fed us lies about Cambodia", but there is still no evidence in support of that claim, either. Shyamashundara quoted various sources, including the court, the press in Cambodia, and child protection advocates who were monitoring Tattva Darshan. He also gave 2nd hand testimony from a friend of his and we received a statement from that person, affirming that part of the story.
And what do we have from your side? The last time this issue was in the news, we received your unsubstantiated claims that Shyamashundara is lying. No proof from you. We received Mahasrnga's unsubstantiated claims that Shyamashundara is lying. No proof from him. We spent considerable time replying in detail to Mahasrnga's apologia for Tattva Darshan. He never gave us the courtesy of a reply. Instead, we got an article in defense by Tattva Darshan himself. We refused to publish it, because it was full of unsupported statements, inneundo, and statements conflicting with the public record.
Again, we spent considerable time detailing out for Tattva Darshan how he could fix what was broken about his statement, adding evidence for his claims that would result in an actual, believable self-defense. We never heard from him again.
Then we received correspondence from you, challenging us. We shared all the above mentioned details with you. You came back with nothing but nasty invective… insults, foul language and threats. No evidence. Nothing to substantiate your claims." [ ]
"Aside from the facts as they've been put forward by the court, the media reports, child protection advocates, and first and second-hand anecdotal testimony, we have nothing at all to indicate that Tattva Darshan is innocent or that his activities have been mis-reported. All we have is a very poorly fashioned attempt to defend him by his allies, including your good self, and he himself."
In response to the above, Jitarati fired back a second time, pasting in a collection of what appeared to be comments from a blog or forum. He wrote:
"Rocan Prabhu, Also for your information the following comments are exactly what I discovered while in Cambodia and was certainly the case with Tattva. Of course you really don't want to see what goes on there as it sells more newspapers to report smutty lies."
In response, we said:
"You sent us a string of comments from some Net forum or other, as if we should take the information they contain as gospel truth. These are opinions from who knows who -- they carry no weight of authority in the context of this discussion. Show us somewhere that the court's statements, or the media's statements, have been challenged and proved false at some official level. That would carry some actual weight."
So as this current round in the Tattva Darshan debate comes to a close (hopefully), we would like to say again to the readers, that despite the emphatic statements of defense coming from Tattva Darshan das, Jitarati das and Devaki nandana das, we as yet have no evidence in support of most, if not all of their claims.