Newark almost became a Sister City with fake Hindu nation floated by notorious scam artist
The city of Newark in New Jersey is admitting it got scammed into almost becoming a Sister City with a non-existent Hindu nation floated by a fake Indian godman absconding from India on rape charges since 2019.
It all started in January when Mayor Ras Baraka invited what he thought was the Hindu nation of ‘Kailasa’ to Newark’s City Hall for a cultural trade agreement, only to find out it was fake after an official ceremony, CBS2 reported.
Read: FBI raids BAPS temple in Robbinsville, NJ, following lawsuit by construction workers (May 11, 2021)
“Very embarrassing for the city,” Newark resident Jacob Rosario told the channel. “I truly don’t even have words for it,” Newark resident Atiyah Harris said. “I’m really sorry for the city that they got duped in that way,” another resident Amaris Mitchell said.
Though it has a detailed website, ‘Kailasa’ has no real government. It’s the brainchild of Swami Nithyananda, a notorious scam artist and fugitive from India who has been on the run from rape charges since 2019, CBS2 noted.
“Whose job was it to do a simple Google search? No one in City Hall, not one person did a Google search, so maybe we need a transformation of City Hall ’cause not one person said, let me go and Google and figure out this was a fake city,” Newark resident Shakee Merritt said.
A few days after the papers were signed, City Council rescinded the agreement. “This is an oversight, cannot happen any longer,” City Councilman Luis Quintana was quoted as saying.
Newark City Hall insists no money was exchanged in this deal to become sister cities. The mayor’s office told CBS2 based on this deception, the ceremony was groundless and void.
In a statement, City Hall said, “Although this was a regrettable incident, the city of Newark remains committed to partnering with people from diverse cultures in order to enrich each other with connectivity, support, and mutual respect.”
“It’s great, show love to the Hindu brothers and sisters, but… yeah, it’s a moment,” Mitchell said.
Nithyananda announced the formation of Kailasa and claimed to have bought an island off the coast of Ecuador after he absconded from India in 2019 facing charges of rape and child abduction.
A search for Kailasa on Google maps reveals some Hindu temples in the southern India and a link to a website promoting the nation as an “ancient enlightened civilization, the great cosmic borderless Hindu nation” and a reference to Nithyananda as “the Reviver.”
Earlier this month, the United Nations said it would ignore statements made by the representatives of Nithyananda at two UN committee meetings in Geneva in February.
Read: ‘Nithyananda conned me with Kailasa’: Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (March 16, 2023)
Kailasa delegates, the BBC reported, joined a discussion on the representation of women in decision-making systems and a second on sustainable development.
Vivian Kwok, a media officer at the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, later said submissions made by delegates to the first discussion were “irrelevant to the topic of the general discussion”. A statement to the second meeting “was tangential to the topic at hand”, she said.