AN ARMY OF ONE —FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT

Inmate Bhakta David B., from Connecticut, has taken it upon himself to fight for the imprisoned bhaktas’ rights to practice their Kṛṣṇa consciousness. After exhausting all the in-house prison recourses, he has brought his claims to court. It is a long process, especially since he doesn’t have any help. In his own words:

As to the legal battle, yes, there are certainly times when I doubt and want to just go away but I cannot go against my convictions and I cannot stop fighting. Even if I wanted to do so, Kṛṣṇa has made it clear to me that I cannot. I am a warrior and I guess that means that it is my calling to be in such situations for Kṛṣṇa . I removed the Juhu fight [from Giriraja Maharaja’s book, “I’ll Build You a Temple” ] and so many others that so many devotees fought that were worse than mine, so these examples help me to carry on when I really want to just bury my head in the sand. Unfortunately, hyenas have a nasty habit of munching on your tail feathers if you do that little stunt.

I am also still seeking counsel and writing to many attorneys that say they do Federal civil cases but no takers at the moment. I even wrote that ISKCON temples in Hartford, Connecticut and other temples as well. I am over my head but not indigent so I cannot get a lawyer appointed to me. Defendants are able to sling paper my way but I am limited in my ability to handle this very complex case by myself. Even the DA agree with me on this being a complex case but I will keep trying to do my best and leave the rest to Kṛṣṇa . Definitely a “rhino” [to chase for Prabhupāda].

Bhakta David’s goals are:

Requesting that defendants (prisons in the BOP system) accommodate Nationally, BOP-wide: (BOP=Bureau of Prison):

1) Meals that are vegetarian/vegan through the Certified Religious Diet that currently nationally accommodates Jewish Kosher and Muslim Halal (it won’t be garlic/onion-free nor made by devotees, but still better than the other options that would have cross-contamination of animal products as an issue).

2) Personal altar

3) Offering all foodstuffs outside of the contaminated chow hall (cafeteria) with non-devotees present (that is already allowed for Jewish inmates).

4) Allowed to procure and wear kunti mala at all times in the BOP facilities and transit.

5) Acquire and use: japa bead bag, Brahmin thread, tilak clay, non-leather BOP mandated work/daytime boots, deities, deity paraphernalia, arati set, camara fan, peacock feather, handkerchief, Tulasi leaves/plant, personal kartals.

6) Commissary special Purchase Orders for spices, ghee, yogurt, , Tulasi leaves, holy water, etc. (for aratis).

7) Holy days -all 15 and Ekadasi as work prosumption days as per BOP rules.

8) Fast days -all as Public fasts days as done for other faith groups per BOP rules.

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NOTE: If you feel inspired to help David in this fight, you can either sponsor a lawyer to help Bhakta David, or —if you are a lawyer— you can offer him your services, Pro Bono. If you feel moved to do this service, please contact the prison ministry at: IskconPrisonMinistry@gmail.com
with “David's court case” in the subject line. Thank you everyone for your support.

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NOTE:
This article is only a part of IPM NEWS, our bi-monthly electronic newsletter. To read whole issues, please go to: iskconprisonministry.org
If you wish to receive it in your mailbox, simply email me at iskconprisonministry@gmail.com with "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line.
More excerpts of inmate letters and also their artwork are available on our website at: iskconprisonministry.org

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ISKCON Prison Ministry
PO Box 2676
Alachua, FL 32616

IskconPrisonMinistry@gmail.com

IskconPrisonMinistry.org