Vrindavan, 2018.12.27 (VT): A Canadian citizen has been arrested after illegally residing in Vrindavan for 8 years. Ian Edward, who prefers to be known as Shyam Das, was found to be in possession of fake documents including a fake citizenship certificate.
The Local Intelligence Unit (LIU), sent the order to Police Inspector Bablu Kumar to inspect the documents, which were found to be counterfeit.
City S.P. Shravan Kumar said that Edward is being sent to jail for possession of fake documents. Police have information that Edward was in Rishikesh in 1997 and paid a lawyer 30 Lakh to obtain a fake citizenship certificate.
Edward obtained a degree from Banaras Hindu University in 1994 and since that time has been living in India. In 2010, he came to the ISKCON temple in Vrindavan and used the fake citizenship certificate to obtain residence in the Brahmachari Ashram.
It is notoriously difficult for foreigners to obtain residential permits to stay in India, which increases the temptation for foreigners to reside illegally. For many foreigners, who realize Vrindavan’s mahima (greatness), the thought of living anywhere else is horrifying.
Police are now cracking down on foreigners living illegally in India. Discussions about expanding the National Register of Citizens are underway and several politicians have stated their views that India is for Indians and is not a dharmshala (place of spiritual refuge).
As well as the threat of infiltration of citizens from neighboring countries, with the increasing interest in Indian culture and religion by people from around the world, the risk of cultural appropriation increases. As international religious organizations seek to downplay the connection of deity worship to Indian culture, some politicians highlight Thakurji’s connection to a particular caste.
The threat of terrorism looms large, although police confirm that, in this case, there was no suspicious activity. Police are conducting an investigation into the identity of the Rishikesh lawyer responsible for arranging the fake citizenship certificate. Questions are also being raised about why authorities took so long to identify the case.