Keywords: withdraw of civil complain
Paththar Ghadai Sangh (PGS), a Sirohi-based organization in Rajasthan affiliated with the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh, issued a statement on July 13 asserting that the allegations made by a group of artisans working at the Robbinsville Akshardham temple in New Jersey were false and were made under duress.
According to the release issued by the organization, many of the artisans have chosen to withdraw from the civil complaint filed in a New Jersey court against the temple of the BAPS sect. In May 2021, a civil complaint for violation of rights was filed, alleging discrimination based on caste, lower wages, and improper working conditions.
The release, signed by Prabhuram Meena, general secretary of Paththar Ghadai Sangh, revealed that 12 volunteers were allegedly pressured into joining as plaintiffs. It stated that these volunteers have contacted advocate Aaditya S B Soni, informing him that they were misled into making the complaint by an advocate named Swati Sawant and now wish to withdraw from it.
The organization emphasized that the artisans had served at BAPS temples in India and the US for many years and had never experienced any pressure, casteism, or discrimination during their service. They clarified that they were treated with love and were well taken care of at the BAPS Swaminarayan temple.
The release further claimed that the artisans were fearful of speaking the truth due to alleged warnings from Sawant regarding police action and potential imprisonment. It was alleged that they were enticed with the promise of US citizenship.
“A dozen of these plaintiffs decided to withdraw their complaint and remove their names from the case, seeking Aaditya Soni’s assistance in informing the American courts and attorneys. The artisans have now voluntarily withdrawn their claims in the court,” the release stated. However, it pointed out that the withdrawal has yet to be officially submitted to the court, despite informing their previous attorneys three weeks ago.
To substantiate their claims, the release mentioned the existence of notarized affidavits, videotaped interviews, and statements made in the presence of advocates.
The allegations made by the artisans initially prompted a visit by a team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies to the temple premises in May 2021, resulting in the removal of 110 out of the 134 artisans from the construction site.
As the situation develops, it remains to be seen how the court proceedings will unfold and whether further investigations will be conducted to determine the veracity of the withdrawal claims made by the artisans.
The Robbinsville Akshardham temple, operated by the BAPS sect, is renowned for its architectural grandeur and cultural significance, attracting devotees and visitors from around the world.
Written by- Jaydeep Ramani, College name – Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, Semester- 7 an intern under Legal Vidhiya