Skip to comments.Riot of Indian meditators causes concerns for Fairfield area residents
Posted on 03/14/2014 9:08:22 AM PDT by iowamark
A riot Tuesday morning near Fairfield has raised concerns about a program that has brought thousands of Indian men to Iowa for meditation.
More than 300 men, mostly from India, live in a fenced-off campus adjacent to Vedic City, north of Fairfield. The pandits, pronounced pundits, are religious men trained in meditating for peace.
But when program leaders removed one of their members early Tuesday for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, more than 60 men swarmed a law enforcement truck, threw rocks at the sheriff and started a march down a public street.
Ive never seen them this incensed before, said Jefferson County Sheriff Greg Morton, who had been called to the campus to assist with removal of the member. He retreated to his truck when pandits started throwing rocks and witnessed the group break off his side mirrors, rock the truck and throw a rock through the back window.
Morton drove out of the mob and leaders eventually convinced the group to go back to the campus, but with less restraint on Mortons part, things could have been much worse, he said. Deadly even.
We know theres a problem there, he said.
Pandit campus leaders, who are affiliated with the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, downplayed the incident Wednesday.
There is no reason anyone should feel any fear, said Bill Goldstein, legal counsel for Global Country for World Peace.
Goldstein helps the pandits secure R-1 visas to come to Iowa for two to three years for concentrated meditation and recitation of Sanskrit sounds. The men are paid $200 a month, with $150 of that routed back to their families. More than 2,000 pandits have spent time in the program since 2007.
The Jefferson County Sheriffs Office has had few problems at the campus beyond frequent false alarms to 911 because the numbers are similar to the country code used to call India, Morton said.
Goldstein would not say Wednesday why leaders chose to remove one of the members and send him back to India. That decision was postponed after the riot and the man was returned to the campus.
He was taken back so we can conduct a review, Goldstein said. We will address this situation so it doesnt happen again.
The incident has renewed suspicion some Fairfield residents have about the university and Vedic City, both founded on the principles of Transcendental Meditation, introduced in India in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The university was started in Iowa in 1973.
Im not impressed with the whole university, said Patty Ledger, whose farm is so close to the pandit campus they can hear the men chanting on quiet evenings.
Ledgers neighbors have complained about pandits walking rural roads, approaching houses and stopping cars. Ledgers son reported being hailed by two pandits on a country road near the campus, she said.
They said Dont send me back, Two dollars and Chicago, Ledger said.
Bob Palm, who lives near Vedic City, said Tuesdays riot has caused fear. If they will attack an armed officer of the law, those of us who live up there are a little worried, he said.
While there is distrust in the community, many Fairfield residents appreciate the multicultural influence the MUM has brought to a small Iowa town, said Jefferson County Attorney Tim Dille.
With 10,000 people, we have more vegetarian restaurants than anyone else, he said.
Still, Dille is concerned by comments hes seen on social media and elsewhere about Tuesdays riot. From what Im gathering on Facebook and other places, there are some very strong opinions, he said. People are extremely upset.
Sounds like the typical Dem voter in Rahm-ville.
Can’t make this stuff up...
OOPs, wrong ‘Indians’.........never mind.....................
They have to come to America to pray for peace? HUH?
Any wonder why the 1800s US Government insisted on immigrants who were culturally the same as Americans?
Ah the Floaters. Gotta love ‘em. The natives really aren’t fond of them and their hippie fruitloop ways. Fairfield sadly is an liberal Obama island in a big red sea of conservatism, and it really skews the numbers there.
Meditating for world peace causes violence. Funny story here in Iowa!
Unfortunately, they didn’t. And controversial at the time.
There were NO restrictions by country of origin and few of any kind for most of the 1800s. Towards the end of the century restrictions were placed on Chinese and Japanese immigration.
It wasn’t till 1917 that major restrictions were put in place, and 1924 when the kind you speak of went in.
“Any wonder why the 1800s US Government insisted on immigrants who were culturally the same as Americans?”
Also note that the seperate American culture emerged during the colonial era, long before the 1800’s of which you speak.
perhaps I should have used the term “Religious values” instead of “culture”.
I’m still not sure what you’re trying to say, since the US has never limited immigration by religion, 1800s, 1900s, or any other period.
They did make a somewhat ineffective attempt to keep commies and anarchists out, which is sort of a religion.
Most late 1800s immigrants were Catholic or Jewish, with religious values very different from the American Protestants who were still the majority. The backlash to their immigration was the primary impetus behind the rise of the 2nd KKK in the 20s. Not anti-black sentiment, as is commonly supposed.