Oakland Tribune International Fri., Jan. 28, 1977

Furor Over Religion Ban

BUENOS AIRES (AP)-The military government said yesterday a decree banning the Divine Light Mission and the Hare Krishna religious movements was aimed only at the Divine Light sect, not at Hare Krishna.

"There is utter confusion in the government over this," a government source said privately.

A government decree Wednesday said the two religious sects were banned because they flouted the principles of Argentine nationhood, morals and customs.

An Interior Ministry communique said yesterday, “In relation to the decree of yesterday, we wish to inform that the religious association banned in the national territory is that known as 'Divine Light Mission of Guru Maharaj Ji.'"

The communique made no mention of Hare Krishna.

Divine Light, with about 300 members in Argentina, is an international organisation that follows Maharaj Ji, a 19-year old Indian youth who preaches meditation.

Hare Krishna has an estimated 5,000 members in Argentina linked with similar chapters throughout the world. Members wear orange robes and sing in the streets.

The English-language Buenos Aires Herald criticized the ban, saying Argentina's image had been damaged abroad. "Eccentrics cannot hurt Argentina, but by appearing persecuted they harm the country," the Herald said.