BK threaten child while centres illegally occupy playgrounds

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BK threaten child while centres illegally occupy playgrounds

Post04 Jun 2014

The Brahma Kumaris illegally detained a child in Mumbai for two hours and attempted to have him arrested by police for trespass after he entering while land used for a BKWSU ashram ... to retrieve a cricket ball. Some teenage boys had been playing cricket on a Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (BMC) owned playing field, which it turns out the Brahma Kumaris may be occupying illegally.

The controversy has lifted the lid on the organization's activities, showing that 11 of its 58 centres are on a BMC owned plot, which were reserved as public recreation grounds (RG), playgrounds (PG) or gardens.

It turns out that the adoption agreements of many centres have expired, but they retain the land and have built buildings on them and they are alleged not to have been paying their bills.

Over a hundred residents participated in a march in Pant Nagar on Tuesday morning, protesting the police action against the boy. Corporator Rakhi Jadhav said the Brahma Kumaris were running their ashram on BMC playground, named Acharya Atre Park, despite the lease having expired.

The Brahma Kumaris turned to their contacts in the right wing Bharatiya Janata Partyin an effort to protect them.
FIR against teen for trying to retrieve ball by Pandurang Mhaske, Mumbai Mirror

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The 14-year-old from Ghatkopar booked for criminal trespassing after he entered the premises of the Brahma Kumaris ashram located on a BMC-owned playground. According to the boy, he had merely attempted to retrieve the ball from the premises of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Vishwavidyalaya, located on the BMC-owned playground in Pant Nagar, when the devotees 'detained' him for two hours before handing him over to police.

In a counter-complaint filed against the Brahma Kumaris, the boy's parents said the vishwavidyalaya watchman and a few devotees, led by a woman identified as Brahma Kumari Harsha, threatened the boy and "detained" him for over two hours, after which the Pant Nagar cops took him to the police station.

An officer from Pant Nagar police confirmed the boy had been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 441 (criminal trespassing) and 447 (punishment up to three months or a fine or both), while the vishwavidyalaya officials had been booked under IPC Section 341 for wrongful confinement and Section 34 (criminal act committed by several people in furtherance of the common intention).

"No arrests have been made. We have registered FIRs against both parties and investigation is on," a senior officer from Pant Nagar Police Station said. The boy's family said that the ashram watchman refused to hand over the ball, following which the lad entered the premises to fetch it.

"A woman, who was identified as Brahma Kumari Harsha, along with other members and the watchman forced our boy to remain seated for over two hours. They repeatedly taunted him, called him names, and used their clout to get him booked for a criminal offence," the boy's Father said.

Brahma Kumari Harsha denied the boy had been detained, and said the ashram authorities had repeatedly requested them to not create nuisance. "Police took the boy away within 20 minutes of us calling them up. Every day, these boys create nuisance. But we never detained them," she said.

Residents protest action

Over a hundred residents participated in a march in Pant Nagar on Tuesday morning, protesting the police action against the boy. Corporator Rakhi Jadhav said the Brahma Kumaris were running their ashram on BMC playground, named Acharya Atre Park, despite the lease having expired.

"I have demanded a probe into the matter. We have come to know that the lease agreement has expired. Also, the ashram authorities have constructed on the ground without permission. They cannot stop people from using a public park," Jadhav said.
Show-cause notice to be issued against Brahma Kumaris over illegal construction in Mumbai Agency: DNA Amrita Nayak Dutta

NCP corporator Rakhee Jadhav out to expose alleged illegal constructions done by the spiritual organisation on BMC plots

After drawing flak for the alleged detention of a minor boy on Sunday, the ashram of the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwavidyalaya, located on a BMC-owned playground at Ghatkopar, may face further trouble. The N-ward office has decided to issue a show cause notice to the ashram, for allegedly carrying out structural irregularities. "We have received certain complaints of structural violations. We will issue a show cause notice and carry out a probe on the violations carried out by them," said Vijay Kamble, assistant municipal commissioner of N ward.

Nationalist Congress Party corporator Rakhee Jadhav said the organisation had carried out several illegal constructions. "The adoption agreement of the organisation had expired in 2004, while the stay on adoption and caretaker policy was granted in 2007 by the state government. So the BMC should have taken back the ground between that period."

She said they had also not cleared water bills and other dues.

Jadhav has also written to the additional municipal commissioner of eastern suburbs, talking about the illegal construction of a compound wall apart from several rooms, offices, halls, passages and garages being built. She also mentioned that the organisation offers restricted entry into the ashram compound.

A copy of the letter is with dna. "It is a BMC plot, which is reserved for a play ground. Any type of construction made for recreational purposes is a violation of the Development Control Rules for Greater Mumbai and invites prosecution under Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, and the Mumbai Municipal Act," the letter reads.

According to the organisation's website, it has 58 centres across Mumbai. However, records obtained from the civic body show 11 of them are on BMC's recreation grounds (RG), playgrounds (PG) and gardens. The adoption agreements of many centres have expired, but the grounds remain with them because of a stay on the adoption and caretaker policy granted by the state government in 2007. Ward officials of F-south ward confirmed that the adoption agreements of two of its centres in the ward expired in 2007. Similarly, H West ward officials confirmed that agreements of two of the organisation's centres at the Swami Muktanand Park at Santacruz and at the Katraj Udyan on Perry Cross Road have also expired seven years ago.

Their centre at a Borivali at Devidas road junction also faces the same issue according to R central ward officials. However, they said they haven't received any complaints about the centre so far.

Brahma Kumari member Harsha refuted allegations of any illegal construction. "We have all the permissions from the Development Planning department of the BMC. We have all the records and copies of bills paid," she said. On Thursday, Jadhav and the minor boy's parents visited Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria. A police official from Pant Nagar police station said, "It's a cross complaint case. We are investigating."
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Re: BK threaten child while centres illegally occupy playgro

Post07 Jun 2014

Thanks to those who pointed out this has been going on for some time, we reported on it in 2008, here: Brahma Kumaris Ban Children from Public Parks.

In the Murlis, the god spirit of the BKs used to speaking about "conquering the world" 3 square feet at a time". In this case, they well coordinated land grab has extended to around 22,000 sq ft of area. The locals are sick of it and they want justice.
Panel asks BMC to probe Brahma Kumari case, Wednesday, 14 May 2014

FIR against boy leads local corporator to raise issue of alleged violation of agreement by ashram on Ghatkopar playground

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The standing committee of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday instructed the civic administration to probe into the alleged violations by members of Prajapita Brahma Kumari Ishwariy University, which runs an ashram on a portion of a Ghatkopar playground given to the organisation on caretaker basis.

The committee’s instruction came after panel member Rakhi Jadhav, an NCP corporator from the suburb, raised the issue of the Brahma Kumaris running their ashram on part of the Acharya Atre playground in Pant Nagar despite their agreement with the BMC coming to an end 10 years ago and allegations of non-payment of water bills for 14 years and encroachment.

Added to all this is the FIR lodged by the organisation against a 14-year-old boy for allegedly trespassing their ashram premises on Sunday. According to the corporator, the boy, had entred the ashram premises to collect a cricket ball while he was playing on the other portion of the playground.

“The Brahma Kumaris have separated their ashram by constructing a small wall around their centre, making it inaccessible to common people. When the boy went to pick up the ball, he was detained for two-three hours at the ashram. The boy could leave the place only after police turned up. This has just become a habit with the Brahma Kumaris. Hence, the matter must be looked into,” Jadhav said in the meeting and added that the boy's parents have filed a cross-complaint against the outfit for allegedly ‘kidnapping’ the boy.

The corporator demanded that the BMC must probe the violations at the department level and the ground be freed of encroachment for public. “The BMC must act against the violators and take back the land. They have grabbed around 22,000 sq ft of area. If the civic body fails to adhere to our concerns, then the locals will block Eastern Express Highway as protest,” Jadhav added.

Responding to the issue, committee chairman Yashodhar Phanase instructed the municipal administration to probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, Brahma Kumari Harsha, a teacher at the ashram who made the complaint against the boy, claimed the garden in the premises of the centre is accessible to public. “The garden was closed for cleaning when the boy entered the premises. Slowly, the number of children outside the premises grew to 30-40. They were shouting and also pelted stones at us disturbing the peace. So, we called up the police. We did not deter the boy; we just asked him to sit for 20-25 minutes,” Harsha said and added that the issue of non-clearance of property tax and water bills is being discussed with the BMC.

Order to compile report

Standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanase asked the administration to compile a report of number of plots given by BMC on caretaker basis. Congress corporator Sheetal Mhatre had demanded action against managers of Dahisar Sports Foundation and the local ward officer (R-North) for allowing ceremonies like wedding at the club built on a municipal plot. Members of the one of the ruling parties, BJP, supported Mhatre. Following this, Phanase ordered the BMC to prepare the report.
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Re: BK threaten child while centres illegally occupy playgro

Post09 Jun 2014

With a name like Harsha, the kids should watch out!


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Re: BK threaten child while centres illegally occupy playgro

Post10 Mar 2015

The civic authority has decided to retake a Ghatkopar playground allotted to an ashram, which last year allegedly detained a teen who had entered the premises to retrieve a cricket ball, and filed a case of trespassing against him.

It has issued a notice to Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Vishwavidyalaya, which operates from Acharya Atre playground in Ghatkopar's Pant Nagar locality. BMC officials said that the ashram's trust, Ms World Renewal Spiritual Trust, had violated several ground-use conditions, including creating unauthorised structures and not providing adequate access to the ground to locals.

The trust, however, maintains that it has followed rules and, according to BMC officials, it has refused to vacate the plot. The civic body has sought the Pant Nagar police's help to reclaim the ground.

The decision to take over the space follows complaints by local NCP corporator Rakhee Jadhav and residents who were outraged by the criminal trespassing case against the 14-yearold boy in May last year. Mirror had reported how the boy was allegedly detained for two hours by the ashram's security and then handed over to the police.

Following the incident, the BMC conducted an inspection at the site and found alleged violations of ground-use terms.

"The trust is treating the playground as its private property and has violated several conditions of the agreement. The BMC's N Ward turned a blind eye all these years. However, the FIR against the boy, who was only retrieving a ball from the ground, was the last straw," Jadhav said, adding that children from the locality were being denied access to the ground.

The ashram trust was allotted the ground for a period of five years in 1999 as part of a playground adoption policy. The ashram continues to use the ground today as the state government had stayed the BMC's policy. Arecent BMC report says that the plot should be taken back from the trust over unauthorised constructions and partitions, and other alleged violations.

"It is seen that Ms World Renewal Spiritual Trust has constructed more structures than they are permitted to. The north portion of the playground measuring around 3,090 sq mt is separated by a wall. An open shed used as avachanalay (reading room) has also been constructed without permission," the report says.

The document also says that the ground is not cleaned regularly and debris is dumped in the north-east corner. The trust has even failed to pay property tax on the plot. According to the agreement with the BMC, the trust cannot stop local residents from using the playground.

The report, however, says that residents were not being given adequate access. "In the view of these violations, it is proposed to revoke the permission given for adoption of Acharya Atre playground to Ms World Renewal Spiritual Trust," the report concludes.

Asenior official in N Ward said that the trust had approached the civic and sessions court to seek a stay on eviction. It, however, did not get any relief. Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas, who is in charge of open spaces in the city, has already given the permission to officials to retake the plot and restore its status as a public playground.

"We will take over the playground once the police give us protection," said Ajit Kumar Ambi, assistant municipal commissioner, N Ward. Another official said that the police were dragging their feet in providing protection to BMC workers. Senior Inspector Shankar Dhanawade of Pant Nagar police station refused to comment, saying the matter was "confidential".

Jadhav, meanwhile, said the ashram trust should be prosecuted under the Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act for carrying out illegal constructions. "At a time when there is a shortage of open spaces in the city, we cannot let a private organisation take over such a big playground," he said.

The trust, however, said that it had not violated any agreement terms. "There is nothing illegal about our activities at the playground. We have all permissions from the BMC. We keep the ground open to the general public from 6 am to 10 pm. The garden, too, is kept open for everybody, it said in a reply to the BMC. "We are even willing to change the timings if the BMC wants that."

But Pratibha, a trust member, denied receiving any BMC notice.


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